When Kayla starts working with a boy named Alec to learn how to defend herself and to stop the evil from eliminating the worlds, she finds herself falling for him. Hard. Torn between two loves and struggling to do what’s right for Earth and Afterlife, Kayla must decide if she’s fighting to keep her life together, or letting it go to save everyone else’s.
14+ due to sexuality, language, teen pregnancy, and adult situations
Luke nodded. “Let me get this straight. So, this guy, he can heal your leg, protect you from something that isn’t yet clear to me, and bring you to some otherworldly place, where you’re reunited with your father?”
“Yeah.” There was that word again.
He pulled his hand out of mine and ran his fingers through his hair. “Well, that’s pretty damn hard to compete with.”
“Luke, this isn’t a competition. This is my life. He’s already saved me once.”
“And I’ll do it again,” Alec said.
Luke pointed a finger at Alec. “I don’t care what you can do. I don’t like you. You stole my girl, who’s pregnant with my baby.” Luke stepped around me and got in Alec’s face. “She will always have a part of me in her life.”
Alec slowly shook his head. “Not new news, and for the record, you stole her from me. So, you don’t get to play that card.”
The tension thickened in the air until the hairs stood on the back of my neck.
“She never said a word to you before all this weird shit started to go down.” Luke poked Alec in the chest. “You’re a liar.”
“It’s true,” I whispered.
Luke whirled around. “What?”
“Before us. It was him.”
Luke opened his mouth, as if to say something, but snapped it shut. He finally spoke after a long moment. “You said I was your first boyfriend. Your first kiss. Your first everything with a guy. You lied to me?”
“At the time, I thought that was true. He finds me in my dreams and takes me to Afterlife. That’s how we met. I never even knew he was real. I thought he was a boy in some recurring dream. I never even remembered until I barreled him over in the hallway one day by accident. His touch jarred my memory.”
Luke’s eyes were wild. “Do me a favor. Do not talk about touching him, ever, in my presence.”
“I’m sorry, Luke. That’s why this is so difficult. I’m only now remembering things that happened before us. It’s … confusing.”
“You were with him? Actually with him, before me?”
I swallowed. “We were sort of dating.”
“That’s not what I meant.” A muscle ticked in Luke’s jaw, and realization dawned on me.
“Oh, no. We didn’t.” I cleared my throat. “Not that…”
“I don’t know what you’re so pissed about. You’re the one who got to have a real relationship with her,” Alec said.
“Shut up. Just shut the hell up.” Luke gently brushed me to the side, leaving him and Alec staring each other down. “You’re an asshole.”
“Hate me, if you want. Call me whatever you want. But that girl right there?” He pointed to me. “She needs me. I swore to protect her, and I don’t give a shit about what you think. I’m her best shot at survival. Your baby’s, too. So, next time you get in my face, remember their lives are at stake and that your guns can’t fight off the shit that’s coming.”
“Asshole,” Luke muttered.
“Douche,” Alec said under his breath.
“Stop fighting,” I said from behind Luke’s back.
“You’re a loser. A loser, with no friends and no life, who came in and stole my girlfriend. Even if she chooses you, you’ll have to help her with my baby. Every time you look at our kid, you’ll be reminded of who was there first.”
I took a step outward to try to get between them, but Alec swung before I could, and as his fist connected with Luke’s face, Luke charged him, sending them both tumbling toward the ground.
Fists flew and grunts sounded in the scuffle as they rolled, each trying to get the upper hand.
“Stop!” I yelled.
Melissa J. Crispin lives in Connecticut with her husband, two kids, and an adorable Siberian Husky. She spends her days in the corporate world, and pursues her passion for writing in the late nights and early mornings.
From micro-fiction to novels, Melissa loves to write stories in varying lengths. But, no matter the story, it’s almost always about the romance.
Hi, everyone! Please join us for an interview with Leila, one of the characters from Melissa J. Crispin’s YA Fantasy novel, Collide.
Hello Leila, thanks for being here today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Do you have any hobbies? What do you do for fun?
Well, let’s see…I’m a senior in high school, and I live in a small town in New Hampshire. When I’m not at school, I’m either at dance class, or hanging out with my friends. We don’t do anything out of the ordinary. We go shopping, watch movies, go out to eat, that sort of thing.
I hear you’ve known Kayla for a long time. Have you guys always been best friends?
Kayla and I have taken dance classes together since pre-school. We were always besties, up until she went and stole the guy I crushed on for years. That stung. A lot. I had a thing for Luke since middle school. I couldn’t fathom that she would do something like that to me. I couldn’t talk to her when I found out about them, couldn’t even look at her. For a long time, I both simultaneously missed and hated her. Luckily, things have changed since then and we were able to get our friendship back. I’m happy we were able to bounce back.
So, what changed, exactly?
Let’s just say something terrible happened, and Kayla landed in the hospital. When I realized she was hurt and that something bad, I mean honest-to-God horrible, could’ve happened to her, I was so afraid for her. I knew right then and there it was time to bury the hatchet.
We’ve all heard about this love triangle between Kayla, Luke, and Alec. Rumor has it you’re team Alec. Care to explain?
Is an explanation even necessary? Have you seen that guy? Holy hotness.
Isn’t it a little too convenient that you used to like Luke, and now you’re rooting for Kayla to go out with Alec instead? Are you laughing at me?
Yes. Yes, I am. First of all, I didn’t try to break Luke and Kayla up before Alec entered the picture, so why would I bother now? And second, I’ve moved on to greener pastures. I have my own man now, so it isn’t like I need to sit around hoping Luke will fall in love with me.
Also, and most of all, Alec’s my friend. I can see how much he cares about Kayla. Getting him to talk about it is like pulling teeth, but he doesn’t even need to say it. It’s obvious.
Okay. Maybe it’s time to change the subject. How do you get around town? Is there good public transportation where you live? Why are you rolling your eyes at me?
I live out in the boonies. There are no busses or subways to get around where I’m from. To get anywhere, you need your own wheels. And if you don’t have that, you better have friends that are willing to drive you around. It’s as simple as that. I, myself, never had a car, and let me tell you, it sucks. The day I finally get my own ride is going to be nothing short of glorious.
What’s your dream car?
That’s easy. One that starts when you turn the key. The end.
Come on. You must have something in mind. What do you picture yourself in? If you could have any car in the world, what would it be?
Oh, I don’t know. I guess I would like something cute and sporty. Maybe a little two-door convertible. Yeah. That would be pretty great.
Final question. Why are you obsessed with making your friends go to Prom?
Why is everyone asking me that? Isn’t it strange that none of them want to go? How come no one’s asking that question? I find that disturbing as all get out. Sometimes, I feel like there’s some weird secret they’re keeping from me, but they all assure me that I’m just paranoid. All I want is to have a fun night out with my friends, before we all go our separate ways at the end of the year. Is that too much to ask? I sure as hell don’t think so.
Well, that seems like a good reason to me. Thank you, Leila, for your time today!
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