~~~ RELEASE BLITZ ~~~

Title: OUTCAST
A Good Guys Novel
Author: Jamie Schlosser
Genre: New Adult/College Romance
Release Date: March 15, 2018
Blurb

KAYLA
My infatuation with Ezra Johnson started how all obsessions begin—with a simple
crush. Over the years I silently soaked up every shy smile and random act of
kindness, wrestling them away to a secret place in my heart meant for
unrequited love.
Because if it wasn’t for the fact that I tutor him once a week, I’m pretty sure
he wouldn’t even know I exist.
Then I find his sketchbook.
And it changes everything.

EZRA
There are two certainties in my life: I’ve been in love with Kayla Reynolds
since I was fourteen, and I can’t have her.
I’ve spent years settling for a two-dimensional fantasy world, capturing her
beauty with a pencil and paper. She’s kind, smart, gorgeous…
And she belongs to someone else.
Or so I thought.
An interesting turn of events makes me realize things aren’t always how they
appear on the outside, and now I’ve got my chance to be the man she deserves.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been called a loser. The cripple. An
outcast.
But maybe—just maybe—this time the good guy won’t finish last.

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Excerpt
PROLOGUE
Four Years
Ago
EZRA
In all my
fourteen years, she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen.
She was a
new student, and from the teacher’s brief announcement I learned she was
originally from Cleveland. When Mr. Marks asked her to stand in front of the
class and introduce herself, her hands anxiously twisted together as she
quietly let out the name I’d say in my head thousands of times over the next
several years.
Kayla Reynolds.
She was a
tiny thing in a gray T-shirt, skinny jeans, and Chucks. Skin the color of
coffee with a healthy dose of cream, light green eyes, full lips, and her hair
was red. Not fiery-red—a deep auburn that reminded me of my favorite kind of
sunset.
The color
of the wild ringlets seemed out of place with her caramel skin, and it was like
all her features had been put together with a bunch of mismatched pieces.
The unique
combination was stunning.
Gorgeous.
I couldn’t
stop staring.
Hushed
whispers filled the classroom. I wasn’t the only one studying the new girl.
Heyworth, Ohio wasn’t the most diverse town, and Kayla’s distinct
characteristics made her stand out like a candle in the dark.
Awkwardly
shifting from one foot to the other, she sent a pleading look to our teacher.
“You can
take a seat,” he told her, and she shuffled to the empty desk in the front row,
just diagonal from me.
Obviously
uncomfortable, she quickly glanced around before looking down at her clasped
hands.
I felt bad
for her.
It was hard
enough coming to a new town, but freshman year started two weeks ago. Everyone
had already gotten time to get acquainted and, truth be told, most of us had
been in the same grade since kindergarten.
And now
here she was, unfamiliar and different.
Painfully
pretty.
The kind of
pretty that made hearts hurt with longing or jealousy. Longing for those who
wanted to be with her, and jealousy
for the ones who wanted to be her.
Both could bring out a darkness we all had somewhere deep inside.
I was in
the former category but instead of letting it bring me down, I felt my heart
lift a little. Usually school was hell for me, but the thought of seeing her
every day made it a little more bearable.
The buzz
around us continued as our peers blatantly discussed the most interesting thing
to happen in our grade for a long time. I didn’t hear all of what they said,
but caught the words “Carrot Top” and “Chia Pet.”
Why did
people have to be such dicks? I should’ve known it wouldn’t take long for them
to pounce.
Suddenly, I
wanted to tell everyone to stop gawking and mind their own fucking business.
Anne’s
blond hair almost smacked me in the face as she whipped her head toward the new
girl.
“So, what
are you?” Leaning to the right, she giggled as she pulled at a strand of
Kayla’s hair. “Like, are you Hispanic or something?”
I narrowed
my eyes at the rude girl in front of me.
“Um, I
don’t know,” Kayla responded, squirming away from the hand petting her head. “I
was adopted.”
“I heard
she has two dads,” Abby, Anne’s best friend, whispered loudly from somewhere
behind me. “Gay dads.”
Snickering
broke out among the class. Kayla’s delicate hands balled into fists until her
knuckles turned white.
Fury
ignited in my chest.
I’d never
stood up for anyone before, not even myself. I wasn’t witty in the heat of the
moment. I always thought of the best comebacks hours after it would’ve been
useful. I didn’t know the first thing about defending someone.
But I
couldn’t do nothing.
Just as I
started to stand—with zero plan in place—a heavy hand landed on my left thigh
and my leg buckled. I dropped back in my seat with a grunt as pain shot through
my knee.
“What do
you think you’re doing, Slug?” AJ sneered.
I bristled
at the awful nickname. Not slug as in slugger,
a baseball champ. Slug like the fat, slimy, slow-moving lumps that came out
after too much rain.
“Uh—um—”
“Uh—uh—uh,”
he mocked with a laugh. Then his tone turned deceptively kind as his hand left
my throbbing leg. “Hey, you know what you should do?”
Instead of
a response, I gave him a skeptical glare.
There was
one word for AJ Nelson: bully. Okay, there were a lot of words for him, but
none of them were nice.
“Blush,” he
barked out the command, and my cheeks flared against my own will. I knew if I
looked in the mirror, I’d see a bright red flush all over my face.
The worst
part about being made fun of wasn’t the hit to my self-esteem. It wasn’t
feeling unloved or unpopular. It wasn’t even knowing so many of my peers stood
by and watched it happen, silent and unwilling to intervene.
It was the
humiliation of being put in my place. The degradation of being constantly
reminded that my body betrayed me. That I wasn’t in control; they were. And
people like AJ took every opportunity to let me know it.
Embarrassed,
I dipped my head so no one would see, but it was too late. The new girl had
rotated in her seat, looking over her shoulder at me with so much empathy, it
only made the heat in my face worse.
She offered
a timid, yet brave smile. “Hey, what’s your name?”
“You can
call him Slug,” AJ supplied, and she gave him a fierce scowl.
Before I
could form a response, a booming voice came from the back of the classroom.
“Yo, Kayla.
Come sit next to me.”
I turned to
see Gavin, the star linebacker for our football team. Dude was a beast.
Freshmen never got put on the varsity team, but the coach had made an exception
for the 6’4”, 210-pound giant. He was a nice guy, though. Soft-spoken and
polite. He mostly kept to himself, so it was unusual for him to make such an
outburst.
Mr. Marks
cleared his throat. “That’s not Kayla’s assigned seat, Gavin.”
He gave the
teacher a hard stare. “It is now.”
Kayla’s
wide eyes bounced back and forth between the two until Mr. Marks waved his hand
in permission.
After
gathering her books, she trudged to the back row. Gavin gave a gentlemanly bow
before pulling out her seat. The frown on her face was replaced with a grin,
and a bolt of jealousy shot through me because I couldn’t be the one to protect
her.
Even if AJ
hadn’t been in my way, I would’ve fumbled over my words. I wasn’t intimidating.
I wasn’t commanding.
I was Ezra
Johnson, the cripple.
And that
was why a girl like Kayla Reynolds would never be interested in a guy like me.
Her gaze
briefly met mine before Gavin snagged her attention away. Tipping his head
toward her, he whispered something I couldn’t hear, and she giggled.
“Guess we
know who’s getting some from the new girl,” AJ remarked crudely, earning a few
laughs.
And there
was nothing I could do about it. If I told him to shut up, he’d just remind me
how powerless I was.
My chest
burned with anger as I opened my brand-new sketchbook to the first page and
started to draw.
As Mr.
Marks droned on about American history, my pencil moved over the paper. I
didn’t need to look at my subject to get the details right; the image of her
was etched into my mind.
Her
heart-shaped face. The slight upturn of her nose. Plump lips. Corkscrew curls.
After I was
satisfied with the rough outline of her beautiful features, I wrote the first
of many letters she’d never see.
Dear Kayla,
Today is the best and worst day of my life. The
best, because I found out love at first sight really does exist. The worst,
because I had to watch someone else be your hero.
Author Bio

Jamie Schlosser grew up on a farm in Illinois surrounded by
cornfields. Although she no longer lives in the country, her dream is to return
to rural living someday. As a stay-at-home mom, she spends most of her days
running back and forth between her two wonderful kids and her laptop. She loves
her family, iced coffee, and happily-ever-afters.
Author Links

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