Excerpt: Living Out Loud - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

Bestselling author Staci Hart brings you another installment of the Austen Series, inspired by the works of Jane Austen, with a heartfelt contemporary retelling of Sense and Sensibility.

When Annie Daschle arrives in New York City, the only thing she can control is her list.

Not her father’s death or the loss of her home. Not the hole in her heart or the defective valve that’s dictated so much of her life. But she can put pen to paper to make a list of all the ways she can live out loud, just like her dad would have wanted.

See the city from the top of the Empire State Building: Check.

Eat hot dogs on the steps of The Met: Check.

Get a job at Wasted Words: Check.

What wasn’t on her list: Greg Brandon. And just when she thinks she’s figured out where to put him, everything changes. In the span of a few staggering heartbeats, she finds herself her caught in the middle of something she can’t find her way out of, with no clear answers and no rules.

List or no list, she realizes she can’t control anything at all, not even her heart.

Not the decisions it makes, and not the moment it stops.

Series:

Austen

Book 3

Can be read as a standalone

Book Type:

Contemporary Romance

Connect with Staci Hart:

Add to Goodreads:

Add Book »

Series Reading Order:

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission should you purchase using those links. All opinions expressed are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.

Excerpt: Living Out Loud
By Staci Hart

Excerpt: Living Out Loud

Staci Hart is back with her fresh take on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility—a romantic, heartwarming story about a girl who moves to New York, determined to live her life boldly in the wake of her father’s death. She never anticipated, however, meeting a man who changes the rules and upends all her plans.

LIVING OUT LOUD is coming February 1st, but I’m thrilled to give you a sneak peek at what awaits below!

I never saw Annie Daschle coming.

I meant that in the most literal sense. Her small body slammed into my much larger one with enough force to send her reeling backward. The crates in my hand clattered to the ground, abandoned in favor of reaching for her.

I caught her by the wrist and pulled, righting her a little too suddenly. She tottered back into me—though softer this time. She landed in the circle of my arms, looking up at me with eyes the color of a green glass bottle, lit up from the inside with sunshine.

It was maybe only a heartbeat, a breath, but it felt like that second stretched out in a long thread between us.

She laughed, her cheeks high as she leaned away. The chilly air cut between us the second she stepped back, leaving me colder than the moment before.

“God, I’m sorry,” she said in a lilting Southern accent. “Are you all right?”

I smiled. “I could ask you the same thing.”

She brushed her wild blonde hair back from her face with a mittened hand the color of pink lemonade. Not a glove. Mittens, like a kid would wear. On anyone else, I would have considered it ridiculous. On her, it was adorable.

“I’m just fine, thanks to you. If you hadn’t caught me, I’d have gone tail over teacups.” She laughed again; the sound set a smile on my face. “Do you work here?”

We had collided just inside the doors to Wasted Words, the bookstore-slash-bar where I’d worked for the last year and a half.

“Almost every day. Anything I can help you with?”

Her smile widened. “Why, yes, there is. I’ve come to see if you’re hiring.”

The answer: no.

So like any good, honest employee, I said, “As a matter of fact, we are.”

She lit up like the Fourth of July and began pulling off her mittens, which complemented her bright yellow peacoat and made her look a little bit like an adorable popsicle. “Oh, that’s great. What are you looking for?”

“What kind of work are you interested in?” I asked, gesturing to a booth next to the bar.

Her face fell just a touch as she slid into the bench seat. “Well, I used to volunteer at the library back home, so I have plenty of experience with cataloging books and that sort of thing. And I’m pretty sure I could get the hang of a cash register, if you need a checkout girl. Really, I could learn just about anything,” she added hopefully.

I’d unknowingly boxed her in, my hand resting on the back of the booth and my body blocking any exit she might have, as if I could pen her in and make her stay. At the realization, I stepped back.

“Let me go grab you an application.”

“Thanks,” she said. “Oh, what’s the manager’s name?”

I smirked and offered my hand. “Greg Brandon. Nice to meet you.”

Her big eyes widened in surprise as she took my hand. “Annie Daschle. Nice to meet you, too.”

Her hand was warm in mine, her fingers long for such a small girl, just a wisp. I wondered absently how old she was before letting her go.

“Be right back. Can I get you anything to drink?”

She unwound her pink scarf. “Water would be fine, if it’s no trouble.”

“None at all. Coming right up.”

I turned and walked away, grinning like a fool as I made my way behind the bar, first pouring her a glass of water, then fishing around under the bar register for the folder of applications.

Technically, I was a manager, just not a hiring manager. I ran the bar, not the store itself. That was Cam’s job—on top of running me. But I had a feeling I’d be able to secure her a spot doing pretty much whatever she wanted. I found myself already rearranging the schedule and concocting a plan to convince Cam.

I stopped for a moment to consider what had gotten into me. I’d never taken an interest in new hires before, but for some unknown reason, I felt compelled to help her.

I wasn’t quite sure what it was that had struck me. She was just a girl, probably younger than I figured, maybe even as young as twenty. But there was something about her, something small and vulnerable, like finding a stray puppy or a floppy-eared, big-eyed bunny that needed a home. Something that made me feel the urge to protect her, to button up her coat and make sure she didn’t lose a mitten or her hat. At the same time, she seemed perfectly self-sufficient with a sunny, optimistic look to her that spoke of a girl who would walk home in the rain or dip her hands into a bag of grain to feel every seed.

Living in New York my whole life, the concept was as foreign as it was fascinating.

I brushed my thoughts aside and took her the application and water, setting it on a coaster. She caught a glimpse of it as I set the glass on top, immediately moving it to read the coaster aloud.

“No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call— / All mine was thine before thou hadst this more.” She beamed. “Shakespeare, Sonnet 40.” She recited the rest from memory, “Then if for my love thou my love receivest, / I cannot blame thee for thou love usest; / But yet be blamed if thou this self deceivest / By wilful taste of what thyself refusest. I love the sonnets.”

“I can see that.” I chuckled. “They barely read like English, but hearing it…I think I actually understood it that time.”

She blushed, just the slightest tinge of dusky rose in her cheeks. “It’s always better spoken. All mine was thine before thou hadst this more,” she said with depth and passion. “She loved him before he took her love, and she’s begging him not to hurt her for the sacrifice. It’s about the power one holds over another who gives their love. It’s beautiful. Are all the coasters the same?”

“Cam, one of my bosses, loves finding quotes for these things.” I grabbed a stack off the back of an adjacent booth and tossed them on the table.

Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. —Jane Austen

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. —Lord Byron

And your very flesh shall be a great poem. —Walt Whitman

Annie looked them over with her big eyes and wide, smiling lips. “Would it be pathetic to beg for a job?”

“You wouldn’t be the first. Let’s start with you filling that out for me.” I nodded to the application.

She straightened up seriously, a little embarrassed. “Yes, of course.”

“Just come get me when you’re through, and we’ll chat.”

She nodded, but I caught a glimpse of her nerves; she was an open book, her pages fluttering from one emotion to the next with an easy whisper.

I walked over to the empty crates, still sprawled across the entry, and picked them up. I carried them out to the sidewalk where my beer delivery guy was waiting, nose in his clipboard. We exchanged a few words, but I wasn’t really paying attention; my mind was turned back to the girl sitting in the booth with pink mittens in her lap.

Her head was down, attention on her application. The tip of her tongue poked comically out of the corner of her lips. And I kept on walking until I was behind the bar, busying myself with anything I could think of, which wasn’t much. We hadn’t been open for long enough that morning to actually have anything to do.

I was in the middle of pretending to do inventory when she set her pen down. I was so aware of her, I sensed the motion rather than saw it.

I smiled and made my way back over, sliding into the bench across from her.

She beamed and pushed the paper in my direction. “Here you go. All done.”

I glanced down the sheet, taking in the details. Her name and address—

Surprise jolted through me that she lived on Fifth and 94th, the Upper East—the Upper Crust. That surprise turned to downright shock when I noted her birthday.

She was eighteen.

Fresh out of high school.

With no job experience.

I looked up at her then, her face full of hope, laced with fear and longing, touched by a shadow of desperation. And there were only two things to do.

I packed away any notion that I might ever be able to be with her and asked, “When can you start?”

Subscribe for Updates:

Share This Post

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

On Facebook

SuperWebTricks Loading...

On Twitter

Omggg you guys! TGIF! It’s been a long a** week and even today was nutty and busy. I’m packing for my trip to Phoenix to attend beaulitfulcon (who’s going??? 🙋🏻‍♀️) and am so excited. I get… https://t.co/PAsRbLvnwP

What are your most anticipated books the first half of 2019??? There are so many I’m looking forward to and it’s been hard to keep up with what I have planned for myself. This week I’m… https://t.co/NdlrgPuPye

Getting my #ValentinesDay vibes on with this super cute beanie and coffee cozy my mom made for me! #perks Check out her goodies at @vilmaknits <3 I think she probably gets tired of everything I want her to make... https://t.co/YwFv5fGabH

Getting my #ValentinesDay vibes on with this super cute beanie and coffee cozy my mom made for me! #perks Check out her goodies at vilmaknits <3 I think she probably gets tired of… https://t.co/ia8nLx0c9B

If V. C. Andrews and Kate Morton had a literary love child, Emma Rous' The Au Pair would be it.
Has anyone read this book by @EJRous? I finished it this past weekend and feel like that… https://t.co/RHxxPAduo0

𝑬𝑵𝑫𝑺 𝑨𝑻 𝑴𝑰𝑫𝑵𝑰𝑮𝑯𝑻!!! Have you entered to win 1 of 1,000 ARCs of THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW by @tgarvisgraves?! Today is the last day to enter! Tag your friends and book club members below,… https://t.co/77071zVGZP

Author @kbuttonw shares her favorite Lowcountry books! https://t.co/Oe6UMoVWpb

I can't wait to start 𝗪𝗛𝗘𝗡 𝗔𝗦𝗛𝗘𝗦 𝗙𝗔𝗟𝗟 by marnimann! Have any of you read this love story early or are you planning to read it??? It’s out tomorrow, but so excited to share a sneak peek… https://t.co/djT4O9IvCK

Read an excerpt from Dragon Claimed by @Donna_Grant! @1001DarkNights https://t.co/WqXP4jj4Fu

Read an excerpt from When Ashes Fall by @MarniMann! https://t.co/tCCLb4beOt

Exclusive Cover Reveal: #Mine by @Court_Writes! @SimonBooks - a raw & riveting story of a collapsing marriage. https://t.co/JHXo1DFoIs

My Most Anticipated Books of Early 2019! See the list! https://t.co/9HxPBV60hf

Finally had the chance to meet the fabulous @blackholly at BookPeople and I’m as obsessed with her as I am with her books. She’s super cool and kind! 🖤 It took everything for me not to talk about all the things... https://t.co/5ofEi3Mq5u

Finally had the chance to meet the fabulous @hollyblack at @bookpeople and I’m as obsessed with her as I am with her books. She’s super cool and kind! 🖤 It took everything for me not to… https://t.co/SSOygF7ivi

It's the BIGGEST GIVEAWAY I've ever done! 😲 - https://t.co/sEhfjWf2hE

See the cover reveal for #After by my girl @imaginator1d!!! I love love love it!!! #Hessa https://t.co/OKearR23HI

Look at the new movie tie-in cover of 𝗔 𝗙 𝗧 𝗘 𝗥 by my girl @imaginator1dx!!! I lovvvve it!!! What do you think?! This new cover celebrates the upcoming movie (April) starring @FT_Hero97… https://t.co/68408lKBrs

Who else is reading this right now??? It’s so darn good and so freaking hard not being able to ignore the world to just immerse myself in this book!!!! I mean, gahhhh, hello tension with… https://t.co/J7u4zwaTTA

Oh my gosh! SOMETIMES I LIE by Alice Feeney is being made into a TV show and I cannot wait! 😱@sarahmgellar will star and executive produce. Loved this book so much—about a woman who wakes… https://t.co/ngfPiI5KlV

Do you have any resolutions or goals for your skin this year? 🧖🏻‍♀️ For me, it’s continuing to be consistent with my regimen, not skipping washing my face and using my products even when… https://t.co/ype0hloeS0

Load More...