Breaking the Rules (Pushing the Limits #1.5)
by Katie McGarry
A summer road trip changes everything in this unforgettable new tale from acclaimed author Katie McGarry
For new high school graduate Echo Emerson, a summer road trip out west with her boyfriend means getting away and forgetting what makes her so... different. It means seeing cool sights while selling her art at galleries along the way. And most of all, it means almost three months alone with Noah Hutchins, the hot, smart, soul-battered guy who’s never judged her. Echo and Noah share everything — except the one thing Echo’s just not ready for.
But when the source of Echo’s constant nightmares comes back into her life, she has to make some tough decisions about what she really wants — even as foster kid Noah’s search for his last remaining relatives forces them both to confront some serious truths about life, love, and themselves.
Now, with one week left before college orientation, jobs and real life, Echo must decide if Noah's more than the bad-boy fling everyone warned her he'd be. And the last leg of an amazing road trip will turn... seriously epic.
From Noah’s POV
Echo’s shoulder slumps as she pivots toward the mirror. She groans as she touches her cheek and forehead that are more red and pink than skin. “Dang it. Why am I such a mess?”
“I think it’s sexy as hell,” I say.
“I think I’m going to barf,” Beth mocks my tone.
Death radiates from the look I send her way. Enough that it should melt her. “Ever sleep in a tent, Beth?”
Beth focuses on the screen while raising her middle finger in my direction.
“Screw it.” Echo turns away from the mirror. “I need a shower.”
I smile, Echo blushes, then I laugh. Damn me for inviting Isaiah and Beth to share our room.
“Anyhow.” An excited glint strikes Echo’s eyes. “Are you ready? I hope you like it. It’s sort of…for you. But it’s not done, okay? I mean, something like this would actually take a while to perfect, so I guess I’m saying—”
“It’s all good.”
“Okay.” Her fingers drum nervously over the top of the canvas before she repeats, “Okay.”
“I’m assuming that’s not the constellation Aires?”
“No. I’ll have to start on that tomorrow.” With a deep inhale, Echo pulls out a chair from the table and rests the painting on the arms and leans it against the back so it will stay upright.
Air rushes out of my body, and I sink onto our bed. It’s the same damned shock as when she drew my parents this past spring. There’s awe and joy and this ache that hits deep in my gut. I bend forward and rest my joint hands on my knees and stare at the sight in front of me.
Fuck me, my eyes burn. I shut them, attempting to get my shit together. It’s a painting. Only a painting. I reopen them, and it’s the same disorientation as a right hook to the head. It’s more than a painting, and that’s the reason my throat swells.
Last night meant as much to me as it did to her and she painted it, capturing it in a way unique to Echo. She’s right, it’s not done. It’s a skeleton compared to her other work, but I see enough to know what she desires, what she plans to design. Up close all those colors would look like chaos, but when viewed as a whole it creates this beautiful picture. In the end, that’s the best way to describe me and Echo, our relationship. Our love.
The bed dips as Echo eases onto it, settles behind me and props her chin on my shoulder. Her signature scent that reminds me of walking into a bakery becomes an invisible blanket surrounding me. “What do you think?”
“It’s us,” I whisper, and knots form in my stomach. Echo always finds a way to blow my mind. She tenses behind me and I continue, “It’s where we spent last night.”
“It is.” Echo relaxes, and her fingers curl around my biceps. “Do you like it?”
Struggling for composure, I place my hand over hers and pause. “It’s…”
I’m not Echo. I don’t have words for what happens inside me. If I did, I’d fail at describing this. I shift to rest my forehead against hers. “I don’t deserve you.”
“That’s my statement,” she says so only I can hear. “I wish we were alone again.”
I press my lips to hers, slide my hand through her hair and watch as the curls bounce back into place. “Me, too.”
Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.
Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.
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