Title: Little Things
Author: Madison Street
Release Date: June 2, 2014
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Everything in Duke Grayson’s life was all he could ever ask for: A loving family, loyal friends, a beautiful girlfriend, and a scholarship to his top choice college. It’s his senior year of high school, and all he needs is to focus on his grades, lacrosse, and keeping his girlfriend happy. That is until Raya walks into his life.
From the moment they meet, Duke is drawn to her, not only for her natural beauty and her stunning crystal blue eyes, but because he’s aware there’s more to this girl than just his alluring pull to her. He senses secrecy and fear.
Throughout the year, their bond grows stronger, and his feelings for her become undeniable. Just when he is about to express his love, tragedy strikes and Raya disappears.
For six years, Duke is tortured by his struggles, as he’s unable to find her and blames himself for failing to protect her. Until the day, she’s found, and he’s given a second chance. Will Duke become her beacon of hope and make her see that it’s the little things that make life worthwhile? Can Raya overcome her fears and fight against the terrors that haunt her? Or will her dark and torturous past be too much for her to battle against?
*Warning: This book contains some disturbing situations, strong language and sexual content. Suited for 18 years and over.
This is an emotionally jarring book. I recommend it for mature readers only as it pertains to many complex themes.
Raya lives with her mom Genna and her stepfather Craig. Genna is a lovely woman that just wants to keep her daughter safe. Craig is an abusive man that takes pleasure from controling Genna and Raya’s lives. He moves them to New York just in time for Raya’s senior year of high school. She is determined to turn 18 and runaway from Craig with her mother. Duke is Raya’s first friend at the new school. He is an all American type and wants to make Raya happy. Melanie is Duke’s girlfriend and quickly becomes Raya’s best friend. Raya hides her home life from her friends as much as possible. Prom is quickly approaching and Raya knows Craig will not let her attend. Her mother is able to surprise Raya and she has the best night of her life. Duke and Melanie go their seperate ways and Duke let’s Raya know she has his heart. Upon bringing her home the unimaginable has happened. Craig attacks Raya and has already killed her mother. Duke manages to get into the house to save Raya. After her mother’s funeral Raya leaves New York and goes to Chicago. She becomes friends with Layla and they attend a job fair together. Quickly though the job fair takes a grim turn and the two women are kidnapped and forced into a prostitution ring. At the same time Duke is studying Criminal Justice knowing it will be the way to find Raya. Melanie is studying to be a nurse and is able to convince Duke he still needs his friends. As the years go by, Duke becomes more resolved to find Raya. He ends up in Chicago and with Melanie’s help they save her. This book goes through several twists and turns and is not for the faint of heart. The story is told through the point of view of Raya and also Duke. It seamlessly goes between the two locations and the reader feels as though they are watching the story unfold in front of them. The characters are well developed and well written. The plot is dark and haunting causing the story to stay with the reader. I commend the author for taking on such an emotional journey.
With a quick pace, I give Mrs. Robinson my test and race out of the class only to crash into Duke.
“Whoa!! Slow down!” He steadies me with his arms.
I chuckle, “Sorry, I’m just happy to get away from Jose. I’m happy this is the last class with him.”
“Me, too. He’s gotten in the way of a lot of things and I can’t fucking stand him. It’ll be alright, Raya. He won’t bother you anymore.” He caresses my arm for a few seconds and then pulls away, clearing his throat. “So, uhh, what did Taylor want?”
I glance away to avoid his eyes, “He asked me out on a date.”
“He finally did it, huh? Took him forever.”
My head snaps to look at him, “Wait. What do you mean?”
He laughs and shakes his head, “After the Halloween party, he asked me if he should ask you out and I told him to go for it. Honestly, I thought he would have asked you out weeks ago. I don’t know what took him so long.”
My heart drops and an unbearable sadness falls over me. “Oh, is that right?”
“You know he’s crazy about you. You should give him a chance. He’s a really good guy.”
I close my eyes and try to force back the tears that are threatening to escape. My heart aches at the loss of Duke’s affection. All I want is him and I know I won’t ever get it. “I’m not so sure. I like him, but not as much as he likes me. I don’t want to rush anything. Besides, I told him that I can’t make any promises. I’ll be very busy with work during the break and won’t have much free time.”
“Ehh, he’ll wait. He doesn’t have a lot going on anyway.” He glances at his phone and responds to a text message. “Okay, well I’m going to catch Melanie before she heads off to her next class. I’ll talk to you later, okay?”
“Okay. Tell her I’ll see her in English.”
“I will.” He waves at me as he heads off to go get his girlfriend. At that moment, I realize that my feelings for Duke are purely one-sided and I need to get a grip on them. A single tear escapes and I quickly wipe it away. I promised myself that I wouldn’t stand in the way of Duke and Melanie. I’m not like that and I refuse to be the reason for a breakup. Their friendship means so much to me and I won’t ruin it.
Maybe I should go out with Taylor, but how can I with Craig being home? Hopefully, he has a conference coming up soon and will have to go out of town. I’m going to have to find a way to explain this to Taylor. I hope he’ll understand. I grab my cell phone and send a quick text to him.
Me: Meet me at work tomorrow.
I head down the hallway, making my way to endure the next final in line. A few minutes later, I hear my phone beep with an incoming text notification. I grab my cell to read the message sent from Taylor.
Taylor: So, is that a yes?
I laugh to myself. He always gets a head of himself.
Me: It’s a maybe. I’d like to take things slow so if you want come visit me at work.
Taylor: Of course! What time is your shift?
Me: From 11-7
Taylor: Okay, I’ll see you there. Maybe we can do lunch?
Me: Yeah, that sounds good. See ya tomorrow. J
Taylor: See ya then sweetie 😉
I smile at his text and think about seeing him tomorrow. He really is a nice guy and maybe I should listen to Duke and give him a chance. My hopes and wishes are slowly diminishing and I can use any bit of happiness I can get right now. Maybe Taylor is just what I need.
About the Author
Madison Street was born in New York City and was raised in the Bronx, where she resided until she was 17 years old. After 9/11, Madison joined the United States Navy to serve her country.
During the deployments, Madison constantly wrote short stories and she discovered her passion for writing. You will find Madison always on the computer, whether she’s on Facebook, designing websites, messing with Photoshop, or writing for her blog.
Besides writing, her second passion is music and dance. Even though she’s a terrible singer, she’ll still belt it out in the shower, especially if the song is her jam! She currently resides in Virginia with her husband of 8 years, 2 children, a dog, and a cat. She is so excited to start this amazing journey and is honored to be part of such a compassionate and loving community.
2 Signed Paperbacks of Little Things (US ONLY), 2 Signed Little Things Bookmarks (US ONLY), 5 ecopies of Little Things