Blog Tour: Picture Imperfect by Jelsa Mepsey (Excerpt and Giveaway!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Welcome to the Picture Imperfect Blog Tour. Today, I have a great book to show you with some excerpts. I hope you enjoy and make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom. This tour was hosted by Chapter by Chapter.

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Picture Imperfect

Author: Jelsa Mepsey
Pages: 307
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Sixteen-year-old Max Prescott knows all too well the joys of cheating girlfriends and traitorous friends. He’s not eager to have his heart trampled again, but money and a fresh start can mean the difference between happiness and a dark path with his name on it. So when Melly Hewson, a perky and enigmatic classmate, asks him to be her model for a year-long photography project, Max agrees. Melly Hewson is everything Max isn’t. She’s outgoing, witty and always knows the right words to say. And despite his best efforts, Max finds himself drawn to her. Still, he isn’t stupid. He knows a girl like Melly will only use him and then never speak to him again. Besides, he’s been to that rodeo. As long as he keeps his feelings off the market, he won’t make the same mistakes as last time. Yet underneath Melly’s sweet smiles lies a secret she’d rather kept hidden. And as the year goes on and the photos pile up, Max and Melly will find themselves developing through the negatives, a story that when told could push them to opposite ends of their world. But the only thing worst than the truth is, the facade that surrounds them.

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She unzips her camera bag. “I should, um, probably take your picture.”
“Oh. Right.” I glance behind me. No noises. That’s good. “Wanna stick around?”
“Actually, I need to go home. We’ll do some shots there soon.” She scratches her head. “Do you have a music player of some sort?”
“Yeah.” I pull my iPod out of my pocket. “Why?”
She grins, revealing her braces again. Is she ever going to get those off? “Pretend to listen to it.”
She said to pretend, but I don’t. Instead, I turn it on, shuffle the music, and listen to the song that comes on.

~

I can’t face the truth
Since I’ve met you, I feel different
Is this what it is?
What it is to love?

I never put this song on my iPod. Where did it come from? Doesn’t matter. As I continue listening to it, Melly says something and waves before leaving. I just continue listening to the lyrics.

Stop haunting me, taking over my head
It’s best if we left these things unsaid
‘Cause I never wanted to fall for you
But now I think I have

~

“Why did you come here?”
I shrug. “I dunno. Maybe because it’s been a while since I’ve been on a swing.”
Melly jumps off her swing, disappearing behind me. I crane my neck. Her small hands shove my back. I frown.
“What’re you doing?”
“Swings are fun!” She continues pushing me. “Just enjoy it!”
Why is she doing this? Maybe she’s just mad and pushing me helps vent her frustration. Maybe she thinks this will make us friends or something. Or maybe she just loves swings and wants me, even if I’m horrible to her, to enjoy them as well.
I really need to be nicer to Melly.

~

Something barks when I’m about to start walking up the stairs. “Oof!” A small, cream-colored dog lands in Melly’s lap. Her gray eyes light up as she rubs his head. “Hey Waffles! Who’s a good boy?” She scratches under his jaw. He looks up, then races over to me and stands on his hind legs, placing his paws on my jeans. I clear my throat and take a step back. The dog’s paws fall down; he lands on all fours.

Melly’s smile widens. “I think he likes you. Isn’t he cute?”

I blink. The dog—Waffles?—kind of looks like a dog my family used to have, except this dog has larger eyes. “Um, I don’t do cute. I’m a dude.”

“I know.” She pats the dog’s head. “I’d bring him upstairs with us, but he’s not allowed up there.”
“Oh.” The dog wags his tail, which is sandy-colored like the rest of his body. “What breed is he?”
“Cairn terrier mixed with something. He might also be part Maltese.”

Whatever that means. Asking about the breed seemed like the right question. I don’t actually know anything about dogs. “Oh.”

Melly laughs. “We can leave him alone for now. Come on. Let’s go upstairs.”

“Sure.” Up we go. The dog stays at the bottom of the staircase and whines.

“He’s just lonely. Ignore him for now.” She points up. “For the fake picture, do you want to pretend to squish the chandelier?”

I don’t have a better idea. “Sure.”

“Cool.” Melly grins as I raise my hand. “A little further apart, to the right a bit … there. That’s good.” She takes the picture. “Thanks for coming over! Can we meet up at the music store tomorrow?”

I nod. “Sounds good.”

“Great. I’ll see you then. I’m going to go take Waffles out for a walk now.”

“Cool.” Good. She didn’t ask me to go with her. “This is a nice house. I didn’t expect it to be so big.”

She laughs. “That’s probably a good thing.” We go downstairs, and she takes Waffles to the back. 

“Bye, Max.”

“Later.”

I smile as I leave. What the hell? I don’t want friends. Friendship never ends well. Right?

~

Waffles lies in front of the door. I bend down and pretend to yank his tail. Melly giggles and snaps the picture. Her teeth show when she smiles. Something is different.

“What happened to your braces?”

Melly raises an eyebrow. “I got them off.”

“Oh.” I frown. “When?”

“Three weeks ago.”

“Oh.” I shove my hands into my pockets. “Cool.”

Melly laughs and, to my surprise, wraps her arms around me. “You know, Max, you’re actually a pretty good friend.” She releases me.

“If you say so, I guess.” Great. I told myself I wasn’t even going to care about Melly, and now we’re friends. She just said so. Deep down, I’ve always seen her as one. But now it’s official. And there’s no turning back.

~

I brush a hand over the keys. “Do you write your songs down?”
Melly blows hair out of her face. “Yes, but no. I have them all memorized, and I’m working on at least typing up all the lyrics. But no, I don’t actually write them all down.”
I nod. “I was just wondering.” If I do find one of her songs, I won’t be able to play it. Oh well. I can barely read notes as it is.
“Well, now you have an answer.” She scratches her head. “My turn. Start playing.”
I mess around with a few notes. If I leave my thumb on C, the song is really easy to play. I repeat the series of notes until Melly turns to me. I finish the last line and turn to her.
“Got it?”
“Yeah.” She twirls a curl around a finger. “What about your sketches? What do you do with them?”
She actually cares? “I end up just ignoring most of the bad ones. I try to not throw anything away because it might be useful later. I put the good ones on my wall.”
“Do you have a lot of pictures on your wall?”
“Not really. Most of them aren’t too great.” I turn back to the piano. “That’s enough questions for now.”
“Oh.” She looks down. Somehow, over the last few minutes, she’s gotten really close to me. She scoots even closer, and her thigh brushes mine. “Sorry.”
“It’s fine.” I move my leg a little. If she notices, I can’t tell. Why did I pull away? The touch actually felt sort of nice.
This really isn’t so bad. We’re still hiding a lot from each other. Scratching the surface is fine with me.

~

“Remember that time you went on your roof? Why were you really on it?”
I scowl. “I didn’t ask you a deep question. That’s not fair.”
Melly smirks. “I never said I played fair.”
“I’ll keep that in mind next time.” Plunk. Plunk. Plunk. Ah, fuck it. Just tell her. “I was wondering what would happen if I jumped.”
Plop. Her eyes widen. The ball lies forgotten on the sand. “What? Would you have jumped if I didn’t show up?”
I raise an eyebrow. “That’s two questions.”
Her eyes narrow. “Max!”
“No, Melly! Geez!” I walk over and pick the ball up. “Don’t get all psycho on me.”
Melly stays silent so long my feet burn. I hop around to cool them off. Finally, she raises the camera and gestures to me. “Hit the beach ball.”
Plunk. She snaps a picture. Then she puts the camera away, somehow managing to keep the beach ball airborne.
“Max, you really worry me sometimes.”
Why is she thinking about that day? I wasn’t really gonna jump. Suicide solves nothing.
It just creates a hell of a lot more shit for the ones who are left to pick up the pieces.

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Jelsa Mepsey

Jelsa Mepsey writes young adult contemporary romance fiction, drawing inspiration from daily life. With her work, she is dedicated to spurring people to think about what they have taken for granted and to shed light on the issues people avoid talking about. As an Asian-American in her 20s, she is excited to explore more of the human experience as she herself journeys through life. Writing, rock climbing 5.12 routes, and playing various instruments have resulted in the formation of many calluses on her hands over the years. When not engaging in her previously mentioned hobbies, Jelsa can be found at her local library with a stack of at least ten books, naming her various pens, or staring at her dog Waffles for inspiration.

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