The Art of Letting Go Excerpt + Author's Top 10 + Giveaway!11:13 AM
The Art of Letting Go by Anna Bloom
Publication date: September 25th 2013
Genres: New Adult, Romance
One year. One woman. One Diary. One question: can you ever stop history from repeating itself and if you could what would you do to stop it?When Lilah McCannon realises at the age of twenty-five that history is going to repeat itself and she is going to become her mother—bored, drunk and wearing a twinset—there is only one thing to do: take drastic action.Turning her back on her old life, Lilah’s plan is to enrol at university, get a degree and prove she is a grown-up.As plans go, it is a good one. There are rules to follow: no alcohol, no cigarettes, no boys and no going home. But when Lilah meets the lead singer of a local band and finds herself unexpectedly falling in love, she realises her rules are not going to be the only things hard to keep.With the academic year slipping by too quickly, Lilah faces a barrage of new challenges: will she ever make it up the Library stairs without having a heart attack? Can she handle a day on campus without drinking vodka? Will she ever manage to read a history book without falling asleep? And most importantly, can she become the grown-up that she desperately wants to be.With her head and her heart pulling her in different directions can Lilah learn the hardest lesson that her first year of university has to teach her: The Art of Letting Go?
The Fresher’s Ball
OH, FUCK! Oh no, no, no, no, no.
I can’t believe it! I have woken up and can now remember the Fresher’s Ball, in all its high-definition 3D glory.
This is all I can remember of how I broke every single one of my Uni rules. I am going to write it down and then I am going to forget about it until the day I die, which may very well be later today.
The Fresher’s Ball completely rocks, but this may be because I break the ‘No Drinking’ rule by consuming:
Half a bottle of champagne
Three tequila shots
Three bottles of beer
Three glasses of water (to keep a balance)
Two glasses of wine
Note to self: This amount of alcohol causes significant pain and memory misplacement.
Halfway through the evening, the room is spinning in an alarming fashion and I am using the wall as a support. I would like to move away from it and dance with my roommates, but I am scared that: A. My legs will fall off, or B. I will be sick. So instead I just stand and lean, sipping some more water.
The live band is great, though unfortunately I have to look at them through one eye. If I open both eyes, everything gets a bit blurry.
The lead singer is damn hot: tall and slim with a shock of dark hair and flashing blue eyes that I can see all the way over from my safety spot against the wall.
Ha ha! If I open both eyes there are two of him!
One eye, one singer. Two eyes, two singers. One eye, one singer. Two eyes, two singers.
I think he may be glancing in my direction, but cannot be sure. Maybe he is just working out if he needs to get someone to call an ambulance for me.
Oh no! I probably look like I am winking at him. I am such an idiot!
I decide to head back to the bar and get another bottle of water. Without a backwards glance at the stage—let’s be honest I am in no condition to be glancing anywhere—I make my way to the bar.
Froebel college is an old mansion house made up of a rabbit warren of rooms that I stumble my way through until I find where they have hidden the bar. Once there, I attempt to communicate with the barman for a bottle of overpriced water.
Sipping my drink, I turn from the bar, but someone is blocking my path back to the exit. I look up and see a pair of blue eyes twinkling down at me.
Ah, pretty, blue sparkly eyes like the sky at midday. I appear to be completely at a loss for words. Again.
A dark head lowers to examine me closer.
“Ben,” he introduces, holding his hand out to me, his blue eyes crinkling.
On closer inspection, I see they are surrounded by the cutest freckles I have ever seen.
“Lilah,” I respond, taking his hand. I don’t shake it, I just hold it.
That is so not cool.
I hope I am not still looking through just one eye. “You’re the singer guy, right?” At least my tongue still works.
He flashes me a wicked smirk. “Singer guy, I am,” he replies, his hand still holding mine.
I have no urge to move away.
“You’re the girl in the knock out white dress,” he adds.
I have nothing to say to this, but he laughs all the same.
“Would you like to go outside for some fresh air?” he asks, leaning forward slightly and talking right into my ear. His warm breath sends shivers down my arm and various other places.
“I should find my friends,” I say. I don’t want to. I want to follow the blues outside, but there is a teeny tiny part of my inebriated brain that knows this may be a bad idea.
“Come on, Lilah.” He tugs at my hand, and my willpower crumbles like a sandcastle in the tide and I follow him without a second thought.
I Will Not Talk to Boys . . . Much
Hold on a minute. It gets worse.
Outside, he takes a crumpled packet of cigarettes out of his jeans pocket. I cannot help but focus on his hand sliding into the tight space of his dark blue jeans.
I am a dirty pervert.
He offers me one, and I automatically accept.
Well, that is a pile of Crap!
I have broken all four of my cardinal rules within twenty-four hours of starting Uni.
Well done, Delilah! I offer myself an imaginary clap on the back.
“I wasn’t winking at you, by the way.” I assure him.
“So you here as a guest or a student?” he asks, leaning in and lighting my ciggie for me.
“Student,” I reply, attempting not to slur.
He lifts an eyebrow at this.
“Yes, I know I am old!” I retort. I should just walk away but my legs are not responding to any command my brain makes. Apart from the one that instructs me to stand there like a dick.
“Hardly.” The blues hold mine.
“Twenty-five is pretty old compared to all the spring chickens in there.” I motion my head to the hall behind me full of dancing teenagers.
Motioning of head is not such a great idea. My vision is about 5 seconds behind.
“I’m twenty-five,” blue-eyed Ben informs me.
“So what are you studying?”
He is standing really close, very close indeed. I seem to be staring at his lips as he speaks, they are all I can focus on. Everything else is blurred or doubled.
I take a long drag of my cigarette.
“History,” I tell him, waiting for the laugh. None comes. “So, have you been with the band long?”
“Wow! That’s a long time.” It really is.
“Yeah, I guess.” He throws his cigarette away and I follow suit. He still does not move away from me. This guy obviously does not follow the rules of etiquette regarding personal space.
“You don’t recognise me, do you?”
Of all the questions I am expecting, this one is not it. “No. Should I?”
“I played at a Christmas party last year. You were there.”
I stare at the blues as he speaks; they are a little mesmerising. Let’s just hope I have my mouth closed.
I remember the band now, and I vaguely remember him. Well, not him exactly, but something about the colour blue. John had been a complete arsehole that evening, not leaving me alone for a minute. It had been suffocating and in the end we had left early. The evening was so bad I have forced myself to never think about it again.
“Sorry,” I offer. I kind of am.
“I think I prefer the white dress to the red.”
What?! He can remember the dress I was wearing nine months ago! I am about to say something . . . anything . . .
Then he is kissing me: his mouth warm and firm on mine.
WHAT ON EARTH AM I DOING?
It should be strange, but it is not as strange as you’d think. I automatically lean in and slide my hands into his black hair, pulling him down closer. His hand grazes down my back and over my left butt cheek. I am not complaining though. Nope, no complaints here. None at all.
Just like that my knees start to go. His arms slide around me holding me up and I think he may be chuckling, but I am not sure. It is hard to hear anything above the roaring in my ears.
This is the point I realise I am going to be sick all over a complete stranger I have just snogged.
“I think I should help you home,” he says into my ear.
“What? No way! If you think I am going to let you take me home so I will have sex with you, you’re sorely mistaken! I am not some gir—” My words are cut off by his lips. I try to protest but soon give up. It is not the most convincing protest I have ever made. I have protested more over cold toast.
“I am not taking you home so I can take advantage of you,” he says after finally pulling away so I can gasp a breath.
“You are really rather drunk and I think you should let me help you home,” he continues, a smile playing on his lips. He is probably right.
I can barely stand up, though I am not sure if that is through lack of oxygen whilst kissing or from too much booze.
“Besides,” he says with a twinkle of blues, “when I do have sex with you, I would rather you were a little more sober.”
I start to protest again but his arms lift me up and throw me over his shoulder in a very unflattering fireman lift.
“Where do you live, Lilah?” he asks.
He is never going to know, so I tell him, just so he has to admit he does not have a clue.
To my immense surprise he just starts striding off across campus.
I try to think of ways to get down, but in the end just give up and stare at his rather tidy arse as my eyesight starts to go black.
This is all I remember.
So kill me now.
I can’t believe that I got drunk enough to snog a stranger, even a hot one. What a complete bloody idiot. I may never, ever leave this room again. Ever.
I am going back to sleep. Hopefully when I wake up I will realise that this has all been a hideous nightmare.
Lilah McCannon’s Top Ten
What makes Lilah McCannon tick? Apart from Ben Chambers that is! Here she is; a little get to know you from the girl herself. Let’s just hope she hasn’t been at the old Pinot when she answered the questions. . .
Favourite Colour? Blue. It used to be red but I have recently changed it.
Favourite Food? Ho-Fun noodles. There is a place on the Old Brompton Road which makes the best Ho—Fun in the word. Sadly I cannot show my face in there at the moment.
Favourite Song? The Promise by Tracy Chapman – but sung much better by Benjamin Chambers. I find most things are.
Favourite book? Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I have to skip large chunks of text because it makes me cry. I still read it though, at least twice a year.
Favourite Film? This is a bit embarrassing but I don’t have one. Okay, um. Uh, definitely not Bambi. Can I think about this one?
Favourite TV Moment? Mr Darcy wet and in a shirt...Elizabeth Bennett looking like she is munching soap because she is about to be caught snooping around his gigantic estate and has realised just how loaded he is and therefore will appear a money grabbing bimbo...oh okay – just Mr Darcy in a wet shirt.
Favourite Childhood Memory? My Mum once got so drunk on gin over Christmas Lunch that she slid off her chair under the table. Dad picked her up eventually but only after we had taken numerous photo’s and Gemma our Golden Labrador had licked the brandy butter off her face.
Oh such fond memories.
Favourite bar/pub? The pub that smells of old farts on Putney High Street. At least it will be when they let me back in again.
Favourite flower? Wild cornflowers.
Favourite Drink? Sorry, do you want me to narrow it down to one? Can I break it into categories?
White wine = A fun night out with the girls.
Bottles of beer = Boredom alleviation.
Sherry =Christmas breakfast.
Vodka =Extreme emotional situations.
Gin = For when vodka no longer works
Hold on! I’ve just thought of my favourite film. The Way We Were...
Why? You want to know why?
Because when I first watched it I thought about it every day for a week afterwards and I knew I never wanted to be a grown up.
I also knew from the age of fifteen that I would never ever be able to let go of someone that I loved as much as Barbra loved Robert in that movie. That moment at the end where they bump into each other in the street and she brushes his hair out of his eyes nearly killed me.
It was the first time I ever swore in front of my mum because when they walked away from each other I screamed “What the fuck? Are they not going to get back together again?” at the telly.
Mum just gave me a Gin and Tonic to get over the shock.
There you go that’s me and my Top Ten。