Tuesday, November 4, 2014

RELEASE DAY: Coleen Lahr "Accepted"


Ashley Smith spent her life being shipped from one family member to the next.  When Ashley’s estranged father dies, she finally has the money to go to college and the chance to find a place where she belongs. 

Within days, Ashley has found the one thing she’s always longed for – a family.  She may have even found love.  There’s only one problem.  Ashley likes Colin…a lot, but so does Randi, and everyone likes Randi.  Randi’s approval is the single easiest way to belong.  Falling in love with Randi’s crush is the single easiest way to find one’s self on the outside for the next three years. 

When Ashley arrived at college, she never dreamed she’d find this kind of happiness.  Will she allow herself to hold on to this happiness, and Colin, or will her fear of losing her friends, the only friends she’s ever known, dictate her actions?


Coleen writes young adult novels, loves running, rock music, the shore, gerber daisies and bread.

When Coleen's not plotting or writing her next book, she can be found making sandwiches in her family's restaurant, running (and often walking) Disney marathons, reading any book she can get her hands on and playing with her adorable kid. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, two dogs and lizard.


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Chapter One

I know I should have been nervous as I pulled into the parking space, but the only emotion I felt at that exact moment was relief that my car actually made the eight-hour trip from Omaha to Chicago.

I got out of the car and stretched before going around to the trunk to grab my lone suitcase. It really shouldn’t have surprised me that my entire life, nineteen years, fit into one suitcase but, for some reason, the fact never ceased to amaze me.

I pulled the bag out of the trunk and looked around. The campus was gigantic. I just knew I was going to get lost every time I left my dorm.

Luckily, my residence hall was the one building I wasn’t worried about finding. I’d spent hours in the summer at the library in Omaha’s community college, going online, and studying the directions to the campus to ensure that I could, if nothing else, find the parking lot and my dorm on my first day here.

So, I followed the little path that ran to the left of the parking lot, the one I had studied and knew would lead me right to the front door of the dormitory that would become my new home.

As I approached the dorm, I looked around at the other students moving in. All of them were flanked by family members, presumably parents and siblings. Most of them greeted each other like old friends, which of course they were.

It was sophomore move in-day, and I was a sophomore moving in just like everyone else. The only difference was that I was a transfer student. It wasn’t the first day of my second year; it was my first day. I’d spent my freshman year at a community college in Nebraska. Most of the students here knew each other, knew their roommates, and had friends. It was the first day, and I was already the outsider.

I was not unaccustomed about being the outsider, though. I’d been one all my life, a side effect of moving from one relative to another for the past seventeen years — which, of course, leads me to the other difference between myself and everyone else moving in today: I was alone.

I had no parents and no siblings with me today to bring me here and to drop me off, to help me move in and to unpack. My mother died when I was two, and my father wasn’t cut out for the job.

So, I’d done this before, started over, but this time was different. This time, I was starting over on my terms. I wasn’t being passed to an aunt or cousin who didn’t really want me and who I didn’t really want either. This time, I was going where I wanted to be, where I’d worked to be, and when I wanted to be there. This was my decision. This was my dream. For the first time ever, I felt in control of my life.

For the first time ever, I wasn’t starting over. This time, I was actually starting.


When I got to the dorm, I had to show identification to get in. The resident assistant looked up my name on a massive list then directed me down two hallways and up one flight of stairs to my room. I thanked her, grabbed the handle of my suitcase on wheels and headed down the first hall.

As I walked down the long hallway past all the open doors, I noticed that the girls' and boys' rooms were jumbled together. A co-ed dorm…that wasn’t something I’d considered.

I travelled down another hallway, and when I got to the stairs, I grabbed the side handle of my suitcase and prepared to lug it up the steps. I picked it up and turned towards the steps when, suddenly, it became significantly lighter.

"Need a hand?" said a friendly voice.

I spun around to where the voice had originated, and there stood a tall, attractive boy — or man, I guess — holding the other end of my suitcase in his hand. He had messy, wavy dark brown hair and olive skin. His eyes were captivating. With his skin tone, I would’ve expected them to be brown, or at least some darker color, but they were light blue, and they were beautiful. The effect was striking; he was quite possibly the most attractive man I had ever seen in real life. And it seemed, on top of all that, he was nice too.

"Oh…um…" I stammered, momentarily taken aback by him, by his beauty. Then, I took a deep breath and finally answered, "Yes, thank you." I smiled at him shyly.

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