Friday, November 1, 2013

Collateral Damage (From the Damage #3) by Jasmine Denton: Spotlight and Excerpt

 






The healing continues in this exciting sequel... 

The arrival of Kelly's stepsister shakes things up, both in her home and her 
support group. 
Alex strives to define himself outside of sports, and starts by forming a relationship with Kay. 
Trouble at home causes Kay to avoid it as much as possible, until a blowout finally forces her to make a change. 
Meagan's life continues to unravel. It seems like there's no end to Seth's harassment. But help from an unlikely source will finally restore her freedom. 
The past comes back to haunt Ryder once again, and this time it could completely ruin his relationship with Meagan. 
A revelation causes Gage to make a much-needed change. Will he finally let Kelly in? 
New character Kendall comes with a lot of baggage, surprising connections to the characters, and a dark secret. 
When a patient goes into crisis, Daphne risks everything to help. 

Things at the Discover-U Center are changing, but one thing remains the same. Healing is a painful process.

 


 COLLATERAL DAMAGE

Kelly thought she’d get away with just driving Kendall to the hospital, but of course her wicked-stepsister insisted on Kelly going inside, too. Then she dragged her into the gift shop.

“Come on,” Kendall said when Kelly protested. “I have to get him a card, or a balloon or something.”

“Sure, we’ll just look for the sorry-I-ran-you-over, glad-you-didn’t-die section.”

Kendall rolled her eyes and headed over to the get-well cards. She began to look through them, not bothering to put them back in their organized place. “Boring. Boring. Borr-rring.”

Kelly walked behind her, picking the cards up and putting them back where they belonged.

“Ah-hah. Whattya think of this one?”

Kendall shoved a card into Kelly’s hands. On the front page, it had a picture of a girl in a skimpy bikini, with oversized breasts hanging voluptuously out of the top. On the inside flap it said, “Feel better yet?”

“Tacky,” Kelly said.

“Then this it is.” She checked the price tag on the back. “Any chance you could float me $3.95?”

Kelly looked at Kendall with her eyes bulged. “Seriously?”

“What? I’m broke.”

Shaking her head, Kelly dug four ones out of her wallet and handed it to Kendall. “Let’s just hurry up, okay?”

“You sure you don’t want to spring for a teddy-bear?” Kendall said, and then when Kelly glared at her, she continued, “Relax. I’m just joking.”

They paid for the card and then headed up to Alex’s room. When they got there, Kelly was surprised to find Kay inside. Sitting at the edge of Alex’s bed. Holding his hand.

“Ten-sion,” Kendall said in a sing-song voice, announcing their presence.

Alex and Kay looked over at the doorway, cheeks flushing. Kay dropped Alex’s hand and stood up.

“Hey,” she said softly, in that mousy tone that always annoyed Kelly.

Kelly didn’t respond, but Kendall said, “Hey, I remember you. You were there last night, right? The girl with the ribbon.”

“Yeah,” Kay said. “And you were the girl in the car.”

Kendall simply smiled and turned to Kelly. “Is this the chick he dumped you for?”

Kelly gawked, eyes bulging, mouth dropping open.

“No,” Alex, Kelly and Kay exclaimed in unison.

“Wow. Did you guys practice that?” Kendall asked.

Kelly responded by giving Kendall a punch on the arm.

“I’m gonna go,” Kay said to Alex. “I’ll…I’ll text you later.”

“Okay,” Alex said, giving Kay that charming smile.

The one that used to belong solely to Kelly.

“Oh, and Kay,” he called as she reached the door. “Thanks for stopping by.”

“Anytime,” Kay said. Then she awkwardly squeezed between Kendall and Kelly when neither of them bothered to move.

Without Kay at his side to distract Kelly, she finally noticed the condition he was in. a few scrapes and bruises, a cast, but overall he seemed okay. He was smiling, and his eyes looked light and happy, not weighed down by secrets or pain. “Well,” Alex said, clearing his throat. “What brings you girls down here?”

“Her dad’s making her apologize,” Kelly said.

“But I am sorry,” Kendall said, taking the seat where Kay had been. “See? I brought you a card and everything.”

Alex chuckled, taking the envelope Kendall held out. When he read the card, he laughed. 

Kelly, lingering in the doorway, rolled her eyes.

“Thanks, Kendall. I do feel better. But not because of the bikini-clad hottie.”

“Good. But, it seems I’ve missed some things in my absence.” Kendall helped herself to the hospital food on Alex’s tray. “So, tell me. Why’d you dump Kelly? I mean, I know she’s high-maintenance, but—”

“Okay,” Kelly interrupted. “We’re done here.”

“Oohh,” Kendall said. “So, you dumped him?”

“Come on, we’re leaving.”

“Whatever happened,” Kendall said as she crossed the room, “Kelly’s really hush-hush about it.”

Alex laughed at them. “Try not to kill each other, okay?”

“I’ll promise no such thing,” Kelly said as she opened the door for Kendall.

Kendall turned to Alex as they left. “You ever want to upgrade from that shy chick, you just let me know.” She gave him a wink, then turned and left.

Kelly shut the door behind her, then started hurrying down the corridor. “Do you always have to be so embarrassing?”

 “It’s a gift,” Kendall replied.

“Return it.”

“You’re just mad because those two were practically lip-locking. I can’t believe you’re gonna let that plain-Jane steal him from you. What’s your problem?”

“I’m not into Alex that way.”

“That’s why you were crying over his wounded body last night.”

“Hey, I thought he was gonna die,” she snapped. “You’d know what that felt like if you cared about anybody.”

“What makes you so sure I don’t?”

“Whatever,” Kelly mumbled as she jabbed the ‘down’ button on the elevator. “Let’s just get home, okay?”

Kelly stopped by the gas station on her way home. As she pulled up to the pump, Kendall hopped out of the car. “Gotta go to the bathroom,” she explained.

Kelly got out, pushed the pump’s nozzle into her gas tank and set the trigger to fill it up. As the gas pumped its way through the hose, Kelly sat down in the driver’s seat, keeping her door open, and looked at her cell phone.

Not surprisingly, there was nothing from Gage. No texts, no voicemails or missed calls. Did he even miss her?

She scrolled through her contacts until she came to his name and the caller ID picture came up. She smiled, seeing the picture of him and Lizzie, their cheeks pressed together. Her finger hovered over the ‘send text’ button at the bottom of the screen. She really needed to talk to him about what happened with Alex. He would have some sage advice for her, some world-wise perspective that would somehow make all the grey areas seem clear, and would somehow cause her to forgive herself yet again. Before she had the guts to push it, the passenger door opened and Kendall slid inside.

She was carrying a bottle in a brown paper sack.

“I thought you were broke,” Kelly said, quickly pushing the ‘lock screen’ button on the side of her phone.

“When it came to greeting cards.” Kendall cracked open the bottle and took a drink, then wiped her lips. “Beer’s a different story.”

“It’s not even noon,” Kelly said.

“So? It’s a Saturday.”

Shaking her head, Kelly got out of the car and put the gas pump away. She used the credit card slot to pay for it, and when she turned back around, she saw Kendall messing with her phone.

Reaching into the car, she snatched her phone away from Kendall. “Can’t I leave you alone for two seconds?”

“He’s a cutie. The reason you’re not ‘into Alex that way’?”

“He’s none of your business.” Kelly slammed her door shut and started the car. 

“I’m just saying he’s hot. Speaking of hot.” Kendall rolled down her window and whistled at a guy who passed by.

To Kelly’s humiliation, the guy walked up to Kendall’s window. He was cute enough, but looked to be in his mid-twenties at least.

“Hey, Sexy,” Kendall said, flipping her hair over her shoulder. “Whatchya into?”

“Goin’ out to the lake with a few friends.” The guy motioned to a jeep full of people. He leaned his elbows on the door, bending down to talk to Kendall. “You’re welcome to join. You, too, blondie.”

Kelly scowled at him and shoved the gear stick into drive. “We gotta go,” she said to Kendall.

But Kendall opened her door.

Kelly grabbed her arm. “You’re not going with him, are you?”

“Yeah. So?”

“So you don’t even know him. This is crazy.”

“Thanks, Mom.” Kendall wrenched her arm free and stepped out of the car.

“Seriously, Kendall. Get in.” When Kendall only slammed the door in her face, Kelly yelled out the window, “She’s a minor, you know.”

But the guy just laughed at her and looped an arm around Kendall’s shoulder, leading her over to the jeep. “She’s nuts,” Kelly said, getting out her cell phone. Using the notepad function, she typed in the Jeep’s license plate number as it drove away. “Completely nuts.”

 

 

Jasmine Denton is the author of several YA books, both paranormal and contemporary. She believes that books have the power to change the world and is trying to do that, one story at a time. You can find Jasmine on the web at these locations:



 

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