Book Spotlight: Sever by Mary Elizabeth

(Closer #2)
by Mary Elizabeth
Date Released: April 5, 2018

About Sever
Misery overstayed its welcome. 

But fate will not be so easily swayed.

Gabriella Mason and Teller Reddy have walked a thin line between affection and hostility for years. The intensity that once set them on fire has ended their engagement and separated them by more than just miles. 

Forced together by circumstances they never saw coming, Gabriella and Teller have no choice but to face the past that brought them together and ultimately severed them apart. 

Wrecked and Damaged have collided. 

This is what happens when they try to pick up the pieces.

Read my five-starred review of Sever.

Add Sever on Goodreads.

Find the Closer series on Goodreads.

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An Excerpt from Sever
The For Sale sign sways in the light breeze, squeaking as it flaps back and forth on rusty hinges. I was afraid the house would sell when I was away, and the sign would be gone, leaving an empty hole in the grass where the post stood. An overflow of relief sweeps through me as I walk upon it and ease its swing, debating whether or not I should catch it on fire or chop it into pieces.

New treatments cover the windows so I can’t see inside the small house. I don’t bother knocking on the door and drop my backpack onto the concrete walkway. Stubbornness made it clear she won’t admit she wants me around, so it’s up to me to prove I’m not going anywhere without her.

There’s no way I can spend another weekend in the elements, on the porch, so I came prepared this time.

I almost have the camping tent pitched on the lawn when Ella rushes from the house dressed in a pair of overalls splattered in paint. The ends of her hair are dipped white, and paint’s freckled across her nose. A painter’s mask hangs from around her neck, and all the broken parts of my life come together with my sweetheart this close.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Teller?” She points at me with a matte finished finger. Ella smells like lacquer and coffee and frustration, and I want to drop to my knees and adore her until the day love kills us both. Then I’ll hang from her halo.

“Are you going to let me inside?” I take her in, soak her up—inhale.

Long lashes flutter against varnished speckled freckles, and Ella’s dark brown eyes sharpen as agitation changes her expression. My heartbeat hustles like the blush spreading from her chest to her cheeks, triggering a need to touch what’s mine so badly, I nearly take a bite out of her.

“I don’t have time for this,” she exclaims, running her hands through her hair. “Why are you here? Why are you doing this to me?”

The last spike gives in to the damp glass under my hand, securing my home away from home to the ground for two seconds before Ella pulls one up. She tosses it to the end of the lawn, hurrying over to the next one.

“You’re fucking insane,” she says, reaching for the spike.

I circle my arms around her stomach and spin her away, forgiving the kicking and scratching as she assaults me. To have her this close is worth broken skin and bloodshed. To feel her against me again in any capacity is worth dirty jeans and scuffed shoes when we fall to the ground. I’m the big spoon to her little spoon, and maybe the neighbors won’t call the cops when they hear her scream.

She darts out of my hold, leaving me in the damp grass to stand over my body with her hands planted on her hips. I rest my palms under my head to get comfortable because bad attention is better than no attention. I’ve always liked the fire in her eyes.

“I’m hosting an open house in a week." Ella kicks my leg, not nearly as hard as she’s dished before. "You can’t be here. You can’t pitch a fucking tent in the front yard. You can’t do this to me, Tell.”

My lips reach into a smile. “That’s the only tent I’ve pitched since you left me. Heartbreak left me soft, baby.”

Her eyes widen, and she kicks me again—harder this time. Ella tries to storm away, but I grab her by the ankle and get to my feet before she punts my face like a football. I’m not completely upright when her fists collide with my biceps, and then my shoulder, and then my throat.

“You are impossible!” She thrusts her hands into my chest.

"Let me help you, Smella." I take hold of her wrists. “You don’t have to do this alone.”

Ella struggles against my grip, but I keep her at arm’s length to protect myself from her attempted murder. I’m begging her to calm down, and she’s trying to take my knees out when a teenage boy with a bowl haircut stops his bike in front of the house and asks Ella, “Are you being attacked?”

Ella doesn’t acknowledge the teen’s existence, but he’s offended me.

“Are you fucking blind?” I ask. Persistence screams and sinks her teeth into my knuckles. “I’m the one being attacked.”

He wipes sweat from his forehead and shrugs. “Yeah, but she’s a girl.”

“So?” I say, letting go of one of Ella’s wrists to push her face away from my hand.

Bike boy lingers uncomfortably with his wheels between his skinny knees, sweating and dirty. “So, she probably can’t defend herself.”

Beads of blood pool on my knuckles. No doubt my skin is still under Ella’s fingernails … but she’s the one who can’t defend herself?

“Get the hell out of here, Trever, before I tell your mom I caught you and your friends peeking through my windows last week,” Ella shouts. The temporary distraction gives me enough time to put some space between us before she scratches my eyes out.

“No, we didn’t.” He scoffs.

“Didn’t you?” she asks. Ella’s chest rises and falls under the straps of her yellow overalls. “Didn’t you and your twerp friend sneak into my backyard?”

I fight the urge to point my finger and laugh at Trever, who’s turned thirteen shades of red. His eyes dart from the sidewalk to the sky to a passing car, unable to face his accuser. Trever’s one chuckle away from bursting into tears, but he doesn’t need to worry. If I laugh, she’ll remember I’m here and kick me in the balls. He’s safe for now.

“We just wanted to see what you were doing inside.” The peeping Tom comes clean.

“Exactly.” Ella waves him away. He pedals down the street and she shouts, “Don’t let me catch you around my house again!”

With ten feet between us and my heartbeat slowing to an average pace, I feel safe enough to laugh. She puts an end to it with a single glance, unamused with my amusement and fed up with Trever and me. But there’s something familiar in the way she glares at me. The smile that’s hidden behind her scowl encourages hope.

“Admit it, baby,” I say, shoving my hands into my pockets.

Ella rolls her dark brown eyes. “Admit what?”

“Admit that your milkshake brings pubescent teenage boys to the yard, so you need my help fighting them off.” I shrug, unable to keep the smile on my face.

Lifting her hands like she might wrap them around my throat, Gabriella groans and turns away from me. I follow her before I realize what I’m doing, solely aware of the panic which threatens to suffocate me if she’s out of my sight.

“Gabriella,” I say. The lack of breath I deal with every moment we’re not together empties my lungs, and I’d prefer her hands around my throat than this fucking bit-by-bit torture.

“What, Teller?” She doesn’t turn around to face me. “What do you want?”

“I want you back,” I admit with what oxygen I have left in me. “I—”

Fire and rage meet me head-on, but her glossy eyes don’t match the defeat in her tone when she says, “Then you shouldn’t have lied to me.”

There are no words because I have no air left to speak them with.

“Did you come here expecting me to forget everything and take you back?” she asks. She wears a spot of paint on her ear like an earring. “We’re not good together. I think we’ve proven that.”

Laughing out, I run my hand through my hair and take a step away. “Get real, Ella. Our breakup has nothing to do with Joe and Kristi, and everything to do with you.”

The sprinklers turn on, raining down on my bright orange tent. There’s a hint of satisfaction in my girl’s scoff; one I return when a sprinkler head breaks, shooting an Old Faithful like stream six feet in the air.

"Let me help around here," I say in a last-ditch effort to salvage what little chance I have of getting her back. She’s not ready for a conversation, and I can be patient. I can try. "I won’t bother you."

Ella lingers in the doorway, glancing over her shoulder at the flood on her lawn before shifting her wet lashes and reddened eyes toward me. “There isn’t a day when you’ve left me alone since we met, Teller. You won’t start now.”

“Probably not,” I reply. “But you need me. For this.”

“I’ll think about it,” she mutters and closes the door behind her.

I sit on the steps and smoke a cigarette, waiting for the sprinklers to turn off. The sun falls behind the house across the street, taking the edge off the temperature and the pressure in my chest. I’m here—camping out on Ella’s front lawn like a fucking stalker—but I’m here, and for two smokes, everything’s okay in the world.

About Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth is an up and coming author who finds words in chaos, writing stories about the skeletons hanging in your closets. 

Mary was born and raised in Southern California. She is a wife, mother of four beautiful children, and dog tamer to one enthusiastic Pit Bull and a prissy Chihuahua. She’s a hairstylist by day but contemporary fiction, new adult author by night. Mary can often be found finger twirling her hair and chewing on a stick of licorice while writing and rewriting a sentence over and over until it’s perfect. She discovered her talent for tale-telling accidentally, but literature is in her chokehold. And she’s not letting go until every story is told. 

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