Saturday, October 5, 2013

Torn by Kim Karr with Review and Giveaway

Torn is the sequel to Connected and will be released October 1, 2013.

Rock star River Wilde brought Dahlia  London back from the brink of hopelessness with his unwavering love and devotion. But their entwined history is about to test the strength of that love…
Dahlia was certain she had found true love and met her ‘Once in a Lifetime’ when she reconnected with River. But Dahlia’s world comes crashing down when someone from her past resurfaces, and all of River’s carefully hidden secrets are exposed.
River wants to show Dahlia that life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass—it’s about dancing in the rain! But how many times can one broken heart be mended?  Will River and Dahlia be able to face the turmoil together or will they be torn apart?
I live in Florida with my husband and four kids. I've always had a love for reading books and writing. Being an English major in college, I wanted to teach at the college level but that was not to be. I went on to receive an MBA and became a project manager until quitting to raise my family. I currently work part-time with my husband and full-time embracing one of my biggest passions—writing.

I wear a lot of hats! Writer, book-lover, wife, soccer-mom, taxi driver, and the all around go-to person of the family. However, I always find time to read. One of my favorite family outings use to be taking my kids to the bookstore or the library. Today, my oldest child is in college and my twins are juniors so they no longer go with me on these outings. And although I don't need to go to the actual store anymore because I have the greatest device ever invented—a Kindle, I still do. There's nothing like a paperback. So now my four year old and I make dates out of going to the bookstore--it's time I love and cherish.

I like to believe in soulmates, kindred spirits, true friends, and Happily-Ever-Afters. I love to drink champagne, listen to music, and hopes to always stay young at heart. 

Connected was my debut novel and is currently available on AmazonBarnes & Noble , iTunes and Kobo.

Torn is the sequel to Connected and will be released on October 1st, 2013. It is available for pre-order on AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes.

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

~ Kim
What inspired you to write Connected and Torn?
The night The Voice premiered on NBC in April 2011, I watched it and fell in love with the show and Adam Levine. I started to think about his journey with Maroon 5 and the number of years it took him to gain fame. I had been thinking about writing a book but hadn’t come up with a storyline that intrigued me enough. For some reason, that night the story of Dahlia, River, and Ben came to mind. The name of book was different as well as character names, but the plot never veered. I always intended for these two books to be a duet and the ending of Connected was the very first thing I wrote.

Discuss your inspiration for Dahlia, Ben, River. How did they transpire?
Character inspiration for Connected evolved as soon as the concept of the book came alive in my mind, I knew I wanted a strong heroine and two heroes that loved her but in different ways. I created the characters from within, who they were, and then conveyed their personalities and appearances to the reader. 

In my head, Dahlia had to be strong to weather the circumstances life threw her way, but I wanted her to be funny and loving with quirks and habits. 

Ben’s personality, as well as his name, actually transpired from a character on a TV show I used to watch years ago. The character on the show was an avid basketball player and swimmer, but since Dahlia and Ben lived near the beach, I decided he should be a surfer. A surfer who hasdifficulty expressing his feelings, hasty in decision making, temperamental, and contemplative, somewhat of a contrast to Dahlia. But, Ben has true depth and sensitivity that Dahlia admires.

River’s character didn’t transpire as much—he just happened. He is who I would consider to be the perfect guy. I took all the traits I love and admire about men and lumped them into him.

Did you plan for your first book to turn into a series?
Yes I did. Just as I planned Connected and Torn to be a duet, my original plan was The Connections Series would consist of three duets for a total of six books. I have since changed my mind and the remaining books in the series will be stand alones. Of course they are part of a series and all characters will appear in all books.

You left Connected hanging with a major cliffhanger—will you do that in your next books?
Since I wrote the end of Connected before I wrote the beginning, I don’t regret the ending. Would I do again—absolutely! Would I write another book with a cliffhanger hanging—that I’m not sure about!

Do you have a specific writing style?
I think all writers do.  We have a certain flow and sentence structure that rarely varies book to book.  I have already plotted out the remaining books in the Connections Series and I’ve written the endings for each one. 

What book are you reading now?
I try to keep up the latest releases as well as read releases in my favorite series. When I’m writing it’s hard to read but I try to set aside at least an hour a day.

What current project are you working on?
I am writing Mended. This is Xander’s Wilde story and his brother does make an appearance.

What can readers look forward to in the future?
My plan is finish Mended then decide if The Connections Series will consist of 5 or 6 books. I am considering cutting one. The book after Mended is Frayed and I have already started that story. It was actually suppose to be released before Mended but I changed my mind.

Please explain the importance of music to you inbooks. You said something in your Author's note about how important it was to you in writing and that the chapter titles have significance.
All chapters in my books are named after songs that inspired me. Bob Marley said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” As a listener, I couldn’t agree more. As a writer, I think it’s better to say music is what feelings sound like when those feelings are written in print.

Music and writing are different, yet similar arts. They both tell a story. They both convey emotion. Yet, one can be heard and the other seen. If you can write a story and put music behind it, I believe you can convey feelings in a more impactful, raw, and emotional way. When trying to express written emotions, the tone of a certain song can allow the reader to feel the sentiments that the character is feeling.

I chose to have each chapter be titled by a song that best represented the events occurring within. My goal is that the reader will listen to the song before reading each chapter so they will feel the full impact of the scene.  

In the words of Billy Joel, “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” I couldn’t agree more. Listening to the lyrics of a song and truly understanding them tells such a beautiful story. So, combining this with an emotional novel just helps bring it to life.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice to new writers: plan out your story before you begin. It is so much easier to fill in the chapters than sit there with a blank screen trying to figure out what to write. Also, reach out, make friends, share your work, find a support group, and always have faith in your work.
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His body tenses and I know this still isnt the time to discuss Ben, but it is the right time to tell him how I feel. I run my fingertips along his cheek, silently apologizing for slapping him before saying it. “I really am so sorry.” I hope he knows I mean it for more than just the slap. Leaning into him, I take his other hand and bring both to my mouth as I tell him what Ive wanted him to know since I drove away this morning. “River, I love you, Ben being alive doesnt change that. You know thatright?”
Exhaling, he grabs my face and looks directly into my eyes. Despite his drunken state, his eyes seem more focused and his words are clear. “I want to believe your love is only for me.That your lips are mine. That your kisses are meant for me.That your body belongs to me.” His arms move to my waist and tighten around me and he presses his hard body against mine. “But when you leave me to see him, its hard to know for sure.”
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Prologue of TORN
Connections #2 by Kim Karr
© 2013 by Kim Karr
Published by the Penguin Group
Release date: October 1, 2013


Close your eyes and you can imagine what it was like. Hot, sticky, crowded. Smoke, flashing screens, and lighters flickering. Fans screaming, laughing, clapping, and crying.Bodies pushing, shoving, trying to catch a glimpse.Everyone wanting to see the stage—the lights, the equipment, the musician himself.
He was running back and forth singing, headbanging, and playing his guitar. The lyrics were jumbled. His movements out of sync. The sound of the bass thumped through the crowd so loud my body vibrated with every wrong note played. I just wanted it to end.
Nick Wilde had opened for the Counting Crows at the Hollywood Bowl. It was his second chance— and he blew it. The crowd was exhilarated at the start of his first song and he owned the stage but it didn’t last long. By the third song he was improvising, pulling notes, and forgetting words. He was lost in his own trance, soaked in alcohol,and no one could help him…not Xander, not my mother, and definitely not me. “Mr. Jones” started playing before he even finished his fourth song…and he never played onstage again.
Music was his soul. Music was in all of our souls. When we were younger he taught us everything he could…how to play, to sing, the right way to command a stage. We knew every song by every artist. We traveled to concert after concert. Music was his life and it became ours.
But he wasn’t happy just playing. He had a dream—he wanted to be famous. And somewhere along the way his dream became an obsession. I’ll give it to him, he gotfurther than most do. By the age of nineteen he had been signed by a label and cut his first album. But after a disappointing run they released him. He spent the next fifteen years working the circuit—clubs, churches, weddings, birthday parties, as he waited for another big break. And then, just like that, he blew his golden opportunity.
Everything in our life changed after that. The drinking got worse, Grandpa came around more to check on us, and Mom went back to work. Every day left another kink in his chain as he lived in his own world. I was sixteen when his plan A became my plan B and, just like him, at a young age, I cut my first album. But unlike him I had Xander. He wasn’t going to let me fail. The band’s album had a slow start but after a year of touring, it started to gain popularity.
I remember the first time the Wilde Ones graced a real stage. We were restless. We had been sitting around for hours waiting. When we were finally up we strutted confidently across the stage like we had in rehearsal, but, really, we were nervous as hell. The lights were much brighter and the audience so much bigger than we were used to. When the guys started to play, soft, barely audible words flew out of my mouth so fast I forgot to breathe. The band was drowning me out and I knew it. Looking around, I adjusted the microphone height and took in the crowd. They were cheering me on with such enthusiasm that my voice finally soared over them. It was the same voice I’d grown up with, the one my dad had fostered. It was raw and present and soulful, and, in that moment, my music came alive. The crowd went crazy and just like that my life changed again.
Xander struck while the iron was hot. He arranged to go on tour. That was the beginning of the end for me. We started out small. Smaller venues, shitty hotels, crappy food, and a lot of drinking. We opened for band after band and the relationships I madethey kept me going, that and being up on that stage doing what I loved…it kept me going, wanting to make my dad proud…yeah, that, too.
But touring was a constant infringement on my personal space. I hated the cramped quarters, lack of privacy, constant strict schedule, never being in the same city for more than two nights, people following you everywhere, people always wanting something from you. Even the girls throwing themselves at you got old. It was the longest year of my life, but I did it for him because somewhere along the way his dream morphed into mine. What I came to realize was that his dream wasn’t mine—my dad thought being on tour meant you had made it. His dream was about being famous. Mine is about the music.
As the venues got bigger so did the crowds, the fanfare, and I could see how you could get lost in it, caught up in it—but I was determined not to end up like my father. He was addicted to the fame. I’m addicted to the creative process. I hope that difference between us is enough. The tour ended and we wrote, we played around LA, and as time passed life was good. But I had managed to put off cutting another album long enough. This time I was doing it for the band and for my brother and for me—because I love the music. Cutting the album—that’s the fun part. It’s the promoting I dreaded, at least until the day I saw her through the glass. The girl who inspired our song “Once in a Lifetime,” the girl Xander always referred to as my muse, the girl who stole my heart one night and then crushed it at the very same time.
She was as beautiful as I remembered and with one glance she took my breath away. She walked my way, pulling a suitcase behind her, and my heart skipped a beat. I knew immediately she was the one sent to interview me and suddenly any negativity I had about doing press was gone. I couldn’t help but watch her. I wanted her unlike anyone I had ever wanted before. I had to stifle a laugh when her briefcase fell off the top of her suitcase and she glanced around to see who saw. I wanted to yell, “Only me and don’t worry because everything about you is sexy as fuck.”
I rushed to grab the door for her, but she pushed it forward and fell into me—not that I minded in the least. I’d catch her over and over. There wasn’t a thing about her that I didn’t remember from the first time we met and even the awkwardness of the moment brought me to full attention. When her body pressed against mine, I knew in that instant…this time I wasn’t letting her get away so easily. I’d go on a thousand tours to have her in my life—there was just something about her, a light in her eyes that made everything wrong feel right. And just like my dad, I got a second chance—it was her. But unlike him, I wasn’t going to blow it.
When she extended her hand and said, “Hello, I’m Dahlia London from Sound Music. I’m so sorry I’m late,” I knew she had to be mine. 

Review of Torn by Kim Karr
by Wendy @ Shhh, Mommy's in the Bathroom.,.Reading
5 stars

Torn starts off where Connected ended, so if you haven't read Connected, you really need to start there. This will spoil book 1. 

Dahlia London has been through a terrible tragedy that almost broke her. Seeing her fianc√© and best friend die right in front of her took her years to overcome. Reconnecting with River was the thing that saved her. River is the sexy lead singer of the Wilde Ones. Their chance meeting in college shaped where River is today. After the events in Connected, they seemed to have found their happy ending. 
Ben choose to go into the witness protection program when he stumbled onto some dangerous information. He felt the only way to save Dahlia and himself was to "die" and disappear forever. He never imagined that he would get to come home. When he comes home though, he finds that the world didn't halt for him. He desperately wants his old life back, Dahlia included. 

Will Dahlia and Rivers love be able to survive when she finds out that her first love isn't really gone. How do you choose between what you knew and what's right in front of you.  

First let me say that I really liked Connected, but I LOVED Torn. I laughed, I cried, I was angry and mad, and oh how I was hot and bothered.  You don't always connect with the characters, but in this one I did, and on an extremely emotional one. There are some very intense scenes and the author really made me feel what these characters were feeling. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down.

I also loved the supporting characters and some of the story lines were left open, leaving me to wonder if there will be more to this story or spins offs (fingers crossed.)

This series is a must read in my book and is on my short list of re-reads. were missing from me.....

Relationships are made up of so many different emotions, but the one thing that keeps a relationship strong is love. Can doubt weaken such a strong bond? Not if two people don't let it-right?

Chapter 2 of CONNECTED
Connections #1 by Kim Karr
© 2013 by Kim Karr
Published by the Penguin Group
Release date: May 2013

Next Lifetime
We walked through the open door to the University of Southern California Campus Bar and Aerie pulled her tail up. “At least they arent playing that Halloween crap in here,” she yelled a little too loudly. As my ears adjusted, I heard a velvety soft voice singing an unfamiliar yet captivating song.
Aerie stopped to put her devil horns on, and I glanced around the large room recognizing a lot of students, while trying to get a look at the band. I shouted directly into her ear, “They sound really good. Have you heard them before?”
She was on her toes trying to see over the crowd. I laughed at how short she was until her pointy devil horn hit me in the eye. “No, but love their sound,” she responded, still trying to see the stage and almost falling over.
I had been coming here for the last three years and couldnt ever remember it being so crowded. I could barely see the long wooden bar to my right, and with the mass of bodies bumpingand grinding on the dance floor, I couldnt even catch a glimpse of the stage.
“Do you know their name?” I asked Aerie.
“I think theyre called the Wilde Ones,” she hiccupped and laughed. She winked at me as she started to dance her way toward some friends on the dance floor and yelled over her shoulder, “By the way, I love them! Great name and an even greater sound.”
“Ill get drinks and meet you out there in a bit,” I said to no one since she was already gone. When the bartender acknowledged me, I ordered two beers, one with ice and one without, and tacked on two shots to help Aerie drown her misery.
The live music stopped and typical Halloween songs were blasted through the speakers. I turned my back to the bar and scanned the crowd for Aerie. You would think she would be easy to spot in her red sequin devil costume. She said she was out for vengeance and if her outfit was any indication, she would be vindicated.
I didnt see her anywhere but I did spot an attractive guy. He was still too far away for me to zero in on any specific feature, but somethingno, everythingabout him drew my attention.
I watched how he moved; his confidence captivated me. He seemed relaxed, like he knew exactly where he was going. And as he headed in my direction, I became mesmerized. Biting my bottom lip, I was unable to focus on anything but him. My head was still a little foggy from the three beers Id consumed earlier and I was clearly not thinking straight when I made eye contact with him, and then slowly studied his body from head to toe.
As the distance between us narrowed, I could see that he was alarmingly attractive: long, lean, and muscular but not bulky. He wore a black beanie hat with his light brown hair sticking out. When I looked into his eyes, they undid me. Although I couldnt see their color, I could feel their intensity. I almost feared that if I looked into them for too long I might never walk away. His eyes aside, the words handsome andgorgeous werent strong enough adjectives to describe this man.
My mind wandered to where it shouldnt. Knowing better than to compare this guy to my boyfriend, I did it anyway. Ifelt incredibly guilty, but I couldnt help myself. Ben was allsurfer. He was attractive, hot, and sexy with an ego to match. This guy was equally as attractive, hot, and sexy, but there was something elsesomething more. I couldnt quite put my finger on it.
Easing his way through the crowd, he removed his beanie and ran his hands through his hair. When our eyes connected it felt like minutes, but only seconds passed. Suddenly I felt an electric pull forcing me to keep looking at him. Everything I felt indicated he was dangerous. I knew I should look away, walk away, but I didnt. I couldnt. He was just too alluring.
He was finally close enough that I could tell his gleaming eyes were green. I was instantly drawn to his smile. It wasnt a full smile, more like a half grin emphasizing his dimples. His skin was smooth with no facial hair and that made me weak in the knees. His full lips were begging for a kiss. Id never looked at a guy like this before, not even Ben. So why was I eyeing him this way, and why was I unable to avert my gaze?
Aside from his overall sex appeal, his clothing made him even more irresistible. He wore faded jeans, a black Foreignerconcert T-shirtand black work boots. I had to laugh a littlewhen I saw the concert T-shirt because I was wearing one, toomy dads U2 T-shirt, knotted on the side, hanging off my shoulder.
Having made his way through the crowd much better than I had, he was now standing in front of me. His face was breathtaking; he had a strong chin, a small straight nose, perfectly shaped eyebrows, and long eyelashes. He was avision of utter perfection and I couldnt help but smile.
The bar was crowded and there was no room on either side of me. Putting both hands in his pockets, he smiled back at me. Then, running his tongue over his bottom lip, he asked in a low, sexy voice, “Were you staring at me?”
I pouted my lips and rolled my eyes. I took a deep breath as I straightened my shoulders and placed my hands on my hips, “No, I was just looking for my friend while I waited on my drinks. You just happened to be in my line of vision.”
He chuckled a little then said, “That look was hot.”
I huffed out a breath and tried not to laugh. Did he really just say that?
When the bartender brought my order and set it in front of me, my phone started ringing in my pocket, but I ignored it as I continued to stare at him. “Why would you think I was looking at you, anyway?”
As the person beside me settled her tab and walked away, he moved to fill the empty space and tossed his beanie next to my drink. His proximity caused my pulse to race and my heart to pound faster. Leaning sideways, he rested his hip against the bar. With his eyes still locked on mine he answered, “Because I was staring at you, hoping you were staring back.”
I looked directly into those powerful green eyes, so full of intensity, and I instantly lost my train of thought. With the electric pull only growing stronger between us, I feared I wasnt going to be able to get out of this encounter unscathed.
He dragged his teeth across his bottom lip and his eyes scanned my body. The expression on his face told me he wanted to do more than just talk. I wanted to do more as well.
A moment of comfortable silence passed before he cocked his head to the side in the most adorable way and grinned.“With all this talk about who was staring at whom I think we forgot the basics. Im River,” he said as he extended his hand with the most devilish grin on his face.
Feeling bewitched by him, I put my hand out to shake his but quickly pulled it away. Unfortunately, I also bumped into the person standing next to me and accidentally spilled his beer.
He gave me a dirty look and swore under his breath. Rivers grin quickly turned into a frown, and he gently moved me away. In a clipped tone he apologized, “Sorry, man, just an accident, but let me buy you another.”
The now drinkless man with a wet shirt looked at him and nodded. River pulled out his wallet and handed him a ten. “Buy two.” The man took the money and walked away,muttering something under his breath. River immediately returned his attention to me, and I bit the corner of my lower lip and smiled at him.
There we were, standing face-to-face, with only a few drinks separating us. Sliding one of the beers toward him, I took a sip of my own even though the ice had melted. “Thank you, that guy sure as shit wasnt happy with me. In fact, he kind of acted like an asshole.”
Taking a sip of his drink, he started to laugh, almost spitting it out. Skimming his finger over my bare shoulder, his eyes locked on mine. “Youre more than welcome.”
Quivering from his touch and intense gaze, I took a step back, fearful of where this might lead.
Moving forward, he traced my last step. He was not going to let the distance widen between us. He stared intently into my eyes. “Now, where were we? Do we need to start over?” He waited for my response as he watched me swallow my drink.
I pulled my lower lip to the side with my teeth and smiled playfully. “We were introducing ourselves.”
“Okay, so lets try again. Im River and you are? . . .”
“Im not sure you need to know that information right now. Im kind of thinking you might be a stalker.”
His eyes widened as he laughed. “Youre not seriousare you, beautiful girl?”
Unable to control my own laughter, I simply said, “Maybe I am,” but my laughter subsided when I registered the sweet name hed called me.
Leaning toward me, he was close enough that I could inhale his fresh scent. It was a soapy, just-out-of-the-shower smell.
“What? If youre not going to tell me your name then I get to call you whatever I want.”
Averting my eyes from his gaze, I looked down.
After taking another sip of his beer, he set the mug down. He hooked my chin with his finger and tilted my head up toward him. His touch seared my skin and left it tingling. He stared at me with his intense green eyes and chuckled. “Can we talk about you thinking Im a Jack the Ripper type? I just want you to know, Im definitely not. In fact, I think its safe to say you were staring at me first, but in no way do I think youre a stalker.”
My mouth dropped open. I was unsure of what to say. I knew he was right. I had stared first.
“So we can get past this; lets just say I was staring first. Not that it really matters.”
We were looking into each others eyes as the bartender passed me my bill. When I turned to pay for my drinks, our connection was broken. Handing my money to the bartender, I thanked him and told him to keep the change. This distraction gave me some time to think about how to handle this potentially dangerous situation.
I watched River as he ordered two more beers, and realized I had to work out my conflicted feelings. I pushed my guilt aside and handed him one of the shots.
“Its a beautiful day,” he replied before shooting back the shot.
I tried not to show how turned on I was that he had just quoted lyrics from one of my favorite songs.
Setting his shot glass down, he put his hand in his pocket. “So, does this mean you forgive me?”
His voice was strong, but soft, and made him even more tempting. I found myself thinking that he was not only adorable, but unlike anyone I had ever encountered before. I knew I shouldnt be doing this. I had a boyfriend that I loved waiting for me.
I raised an eyebrow and asked, “Forgive you? Forgive you for what?” I was having a hard time concentrating on the conversation and honestly had no idea what the apology was for.
He shifted on his feet. “You know what. Never mind,” he muttered in my ear. His warm breath brushed my neck and I wanted to feel it everywhere.
Looking me up and down, he changed the subject. “What, no costume?”
Continuing our dangerous flirtation, I glanced down, motioning with my hands from head to toe. “How do you know this isnt my costume?”
While tugging on my T-shirt and pulling me a little closer, he seductively whispered, “If thats your costume youre definitely taking first place in the contest because its the sexiest one Ive ever seen.”
We were silent for a minute; not even our heavy breathing could be heard. The noise from the bar and the crowd around us had quieted, but his words, his touch, they inflamed me, excited me, and sent fire through my veins.
“Whered you get this, anyway?” he asked, tugging at the knot on my shirt, pulling me closer.
It felt like the room was spinning and I wasnt sure if it washim, the alcohol, or the fact that he had just asked me a question I didnt want to answer. “My dad managed the Greek and was a collector of concert T-shirts,” I said, trying to push back the emotions welling up inside me.
He seemed to understand my hesitation before nodding, clearing his throat, and once again changed the subject. “So, have you ever seen Foreigner play?” he asked, now pointing to his own shirt and grinning.
As I looked at the bold white letters across his chest, I pushed aside my sadness and refocused on our conversation. We were just two people who had a lot in commonor at least that was what I wanted to think. When our drinks were gone, he ordered another round. As I finished the shot, I accidentally slammed the glass on the bar, and the bartender glowered at me. “Sorry,” I mouthed.
River reached out and grabbed a strand of hair that had come loose from my ponytail. He very slowly tucked it behind my ear, sending shivers down my spine. Circling his index finger around my ear, he lightly tugged on my lobe. He sparked a fire in me that never before existed.
Gulping the drink I didnt need to be drinking, I hoped to extinguish the flame. I hoped no one had seen him touch me that way. Ben would be fucking furious. He was ridiculously jealous. We had many arguments about other men, all unjustified. At least until now.
As the strobe lights started to flicker and I leaned my hip against the bar for support, he put his hand on my waist and turned me so my back was against the bar. I wondered if he noticed me almost lose my balance from the flashing lights and drunkenness. Moving to stand directly in front of me, he put his hands on either side of me and pressed his palms into the bar. He was enveloping me, but I didnt feel trapped. I didnt know what I felt, but I knew my heart was pounding out of my chest; my stomach was doing flips, and I became light-headed as goose bumps emerged on my skin.
I thought he was going to kiss me as he stared intently into my eyes. I closed my eyes preparing for it but I felt him abruptly pull away. Immediately, I heard a high-pitched voice squeal, “River, dont forget were leaving right after the show,” and before I could catch a glimpse of the girl, she bounced away.
Smirking at me he said, “My little sister has the worst timing.”
I was going to respond when I heard a drumroll echo through the bar. Glancing around, I tried to figure out what it was for. Amused, he rolled his eyes before looking at the stage and then back to me. “That would be for me,” he laughed, leaning in so we were face-to-face. “They want me back onstage. Ive gotta go unless youd rather I stay and we finish what we started? Because that certainly would be way more fun.”
I really hadnt heard anything he said, but everything seemed to finally make sense. He was the voice I heard when I came into the bar. He was so charming, so captivating, and so aware of me. I was pretty sure I was drunk because I was feeling things I should not have been feeling. As I stared into his powerful green eyes, I knew I shouldve been trying to escape them.
Before I could say anything in response, he moved his head slightly back, lifted my hand, and slowly kissed it. Then he leaned into me and whispered in my ear, “Guess not. Not yet, anyway.” My hand was on fire, my ear scorched.
That same drumroll rumbled through the sound system again and he quickly turned his head back to look at me. “Igotta jet.”
He was still holding my hand, as he looked straight into my eyes. “Youll wait for me until after the show.”
It wasnt a question. It was a statement. And then motioning between us, he added, “Because this isnt finished.”
At that moment I realized that what had started as harmless flirting had turned into a situation that had gotten way too dangerous.
He placed his hands back on the bar and waited for a response. Since he hadnt asked a question that I wanted to answer, I just smiled and said, “If youre in the band youd better go, you shouldnt leave your fans waiting.”
He gave me one last heart-stopping grin and then leaned in and kissed me. My body reacted strangely; a rush of something I couldnt identify surged through me. At first he only lightly touched my lips with his then for a few short seconds he pressed a little harder before pulling away. I didnt kiss him back, but felt light-headed.
“I hope youve become a fan,” he said, winking at me before grabbing his hat. Then he turned and walked away.
I brought my fingers up to my lips and watched as his silhouette disappeared through the crowd. I became vaguely aware that “Superstition” was playing, but my mind was focused on him.
I shook my head, trying to rid myself of the thoughts that shouldnt be there. I knew I had to leave, or I would end up doing something I would regret. I loved Ben, and Ben would fucking kill River just for looking at me the way he did. And then there was the kiss; yes, Ben would certainly kill him.
Knowing these things, I wondered why I hadnt walked away in the first place. For a moment there, I felt as though I believed in love at first sight, which I didnt. And how could love at first sight even exist when you were already in love with someone else? I didnt want to keep thinking about what happened because I was confused as hell, and I knew the meaning of it all wasnt what I wanted it to be.
I smiled about our encounter. He definitely was not a stalker. He was adorably charming and utterly charismatic, a guy who had a simple ease about him that I really liked, and a guy I didnt ever need to see again. This I knew for certain.
With thoughts of River swirling through my head, I made my way through the crowd to the dance floor where I found Aerie with some kind of pink drink in her hand. “We have to leave. Now!” I shouted at her while pulling her off the dance floor.
“What? Why? Are you sick?” she asked, struggling for words.
Then she turned and pointed to the stage. “Because if youre not, I want to see that hot guy sing first.”
I turned to see where she was pointing and sure enough it was him, River. I then realized Id never even told him my name.

Pulling Aerie through the crowd under protest, I heard the audience chanting, “River Wilde, River Wilde.” I glanced up to the stage just in time to see him grab the microphone. Before the live music started we exited through the door, and Aerie started yelling obscenities at me. As we walked away I found myself thinking I had just had the most magical encounter and might never be the same because of it.
River’s POV
Chapter 2 of CONNECTED
Connections #1 by Kim Karr
© 2013 by Kim Karr
Published by the Penguin Group
Release date: May 2013

Next Lifetime

The set ends so I walk over behind Garrett to lean my guitar against the wall. I pull my shirt up to wipe the sweat off my forehead. It’s hotter than shit in here and I need a drink. Garrett laughs, tipping his head back to swallow the beer he somehow already has.
“You going to grab a drink? I’ll take another,” he says as he downs the rest of his beer. “And, dude, wear this. Seriously man, your hair looks like shit, he says throwinghis beanie at me.
 I move closer and shove him a little and put the hat on my head. “Shut the fuck up, you should talk.”
I hop off the stage and my sister rushes over to me. “River, I need you to take me home as soon as the last set is over. I have someone meeting me back at my apartment.”
I shake my head, knowing it must be a guy. “Yeah yeah, I will Bell, but really can’t you get a boyfriend that has some manners? You know, like actually picks his date up and maybe even takes her out? And at a decent hour?”
She rolls her eyes. “All guys aren’t like you, big brother. Nice beanie,” she teases before disappearing back into the crowd.
As I walk through the jam-packed room, some brunette chick I think looks familiar asks me if I want to grab a drink in private. I kindly refuse, telling her I need to refuel before my next set. She’s still talking when I motion toward the bar to signal that I’m moving away. As my eyes flash across the bar, they’re suddenly drawn to a beautiful girl standing against it. And she’s looking directly at me.
I start walking toward her, leaving behind the brunette who is still talking. As I stare at the beautiful girl, I think,“I want her.” Tall, slim, long blonde hair that’s pulled away from her face. But it’s her eyes that get me—the way she’s looking at me. Shit, I’ve talked to about a dozen chicks tonight, but she is the only one who has me interested.
As I stare back at her I’m feeling like she’s not just any girl. Not just a girl to have sex with. I’m actually having a fucking conversation with myself. I can’t figure out what’s going on in my own head.
I try not to smile, but I know she’s checking me out.Fuck, why’d I put this hat on? I quickly pull it off and comb my fingers through my hair. I can’t take my eyes off her and I feel like I want to knock everyone out of my way to get to her.
When I finally reach the bar, I stand right in front of her. For some weird reason I feel the urge to touch her, but instead I shove my hands in my pockets. She’s smiling at me and I smile right back. This girl is hot. Her eyes still haven’t left mine this whole time, so I decide to break the ice by calling her out. “Were you staring at me?”
She pouts her lips and rolls her eyes. Shit, that look gets me.
“No, I was just looking for my friend while I waited on my drinks. You just happened to be in my line of vision.”
I stifle my laugh and say, “That look was hot.” I want to say, “You’re hot,” but I don’t—not yet anyway.
I can tell she’s trying not to laugh. If she does, I know I have her. Her phone rings and her smile fades. “Why would you think I was looking at you, anyway?”
The person beside her walks away and I secure my place next to her. I toss my hat on the counter and lean against the bar, my eyes never leaving hers. I answer in the most honest way I can. Because I was staring at you, hoping you were staring back.”
I don’t want to fuck this up so I decide to be the guy Bell always tells me I am—the
guy with manners. Then I say what I should have said first. “With all this talk about who was staring at whom I think we forgot the basics, I’m River,” I say as I extend my hand.
She reaches hers out. Hey, I get to touch her. But she quickly pulls her hand back before I get to grasp it and accidentally knocks a dude’s beer over. The asshole gives her a dirty look and swears. I know I have to step in because this guy is out of line. I gently guide her out of my way and try to control myself as I say, “Sorry man, just an accident, but let me buy you another.” I hand him a ten, “Buy two.” I hope he takes the money and leaves. Lucky for him he does, because otherwise I might deck him.
I turn around to find the girl smiling at me and sliding one of her beers my way. I start to drink it and she says, “Thank you, that guy sure as shit wasn’t happy with me. In fact he kind of acted like an asshole.” I can’t help but laugh mid-sip, almost spitting the beer out of my mouth. Not cool.
Not able to resist any longer, I run my finger over her smooth bare shoulder and lock my eyes on hers. “You’remore than welcome.
She just barely shudders and steps back. I’m pretty sure she’s interested in me so I step closer, not wanting to break our connection. Now, where were we? Do we need to start over?” I ask, looking into her eyes.
“We were introducing ourselves,” she says smiling.
Okay, so lets try again. I’m River and you are . . .?”
“I’m not sure you need to know that information right now. I’m kind of thinking you might be a stalker,” she teases.
I laugh. I’m all about game playing but I’m not ready to playI really want to get to know this girl, and I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual, so I avoid dropping the canned line I might have used on another girl and say, “You’re notserious, are you beautiful girl?”


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