Sunday, September 7, 2014


Constructing Us by C.J. Lake
Publication date: July 18th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance


*Contains explicit/steamy scenes that are intended for mature readers.

When Andy takes over the lease on her friend Ethan’s apartment, he warns her about his roommate, Tragan. According to Ethan, Tragan Barrett is self-centered and often inconsiderate, caring more about hanging out with his friends and hitting the local casino than straightening the living room or keeping up with his laundry. Andy isn’t too concerned, though, because she isn’t moving in to make a friend.

Intended as a short-term living arrangement, the apartment is close to the hospital where Andy is participating in a drug study for a rare disorder she was diagnosed with when she was twenty. Now, fresh out of college, she is trying to figure out her life–and also how to live with the uncertainty of her condition. Figuring she’ll go one way and he’ll go another, Andy is surprised to learn that Tragan is not exactly the way Ethan painted him. In fact, there’s a whole other side to the darkly sexy construction worker…especially when it comes to Andy.

Can an unlikely friendship turn into something much more?
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After his parents left, Tragan found Andy at the kitchen sink. She was pulling her hair up into a messy knot at the back of her head, which exposed more of her neck. He stepped closer, leaned on the counter beside the sink. “Well, the good news is that my parents had an awesome time. They absolutely love you.”
“Oh, good…” Andy said, reaching for the dishwashing soap.
“The bad news is that for the rest of her days my mother will now be saying: ‘Why can’t you meet a girl like Andy’?
She gave a laugh at that. “Technically you did meet me,” she pointed out.
“You know what I mean,” Tragan said. “Seriously, I can see it now. ‘Tragan, that stripper you brought home for Thanksgiving? Why can’t she be more like Andy?’”
Andy shot him a look. “Stripper? Really?”
He shrugged. “You never know,” he said, grinning.
“Personally, I think you should set your sights a little higher,” Andy remarked, tilting her head at him--then corrected herself. “I shouldn’t say that, because I don’t actually know… Tragan, are you seeing anyone now?”
He shook his head. “Nope, no,” he said, straightening up a little. “I’m keeping my options open,” he added for some unknown reason. He felt like an idiot as soon as he’d said it. 
“That’s good,” she said generically and set more plates into the sink. As she swished them with soapy water, Tragan found himself thinking about what his mom had said at the door. 
“So are you always this great to people’s parents?” he fished. “Or…”
“Or what?” 
When she blinked at him, waiting, he lightened his tone, made it more joking. “Or is there just something special about Mari and Jack Barrett?”
Her gaze returned to the dishes in the sink as she proclaimed, “They’re very easy to talk to, for real. I don’t know why you were worried.”
“I wasn’t worried.”
“Sure,” she said, teasing him. “You know, you’re lucky your parents are still together. When my dad moved to Switzerland, it was supposed to be a year or so. We didn’t know he’d end up staying forever.”
When her voice trailed off, Tragan probed, “Do you ever see him?”
Andy nodded. “Oh, sure, on Skype. Emma and I visited him in Zurich about two years ago, and he came to the hospital in Chicago when I was sick. Plus, we talk on the phone and email a lot.”
“That’s cool.”
“Yeah, he’s a good dad. But it’s still not the same as having my mom and him still together, like yours.”
Selfishly, Tragan was impatient to switch topics. He loved his parents to death but he didn’t want to talk about them right now. And he didn’t want to talk about Andy’s parents, either. “Hey--are you and Brad serious?” he blurted. 
Andy appeared startled by the shift in subject. At first she hesitated, without replying. But Tragan held her gaze anyway, determined to learn the answer.
Finally, she shrugged. “Yeah, I mean, maybe, sure, could be,” she floundered, breaking their eye contact to reach for a towel. Rubbing it over a wet plate, she babbled on, “He’s a great guy and, you know, I’ve known him for a couple years now, um…plus, we’re still young, it’s not like we have to make any decisions right now…but…my mother likes him and…enh.”

About the Author

C.J. Lake is a storyteller who is passionate about art, surfing, and skiing/snowboarding. Residing near the coast of Massachusetts, C.J. is working on a new book that will feature Tragan Barrett's friend, Matt Winter.

Author Links

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