Sunday, April 21, 2013

Haze (Haze #1) by Andrea Wolfe

Posted by miss fifi at Sunday, April 21, 2013


Freshly graduated from college and ready for a new start, Effie Jacobs leaves small town Michigan and heads to New York City to work in accounting for a major record label--the last thing she ever thought she'd be doing. She's left a world of drama behind her, eager to confront her new reality head on and make it on her own.

After getting over the initial shock of NYC and her new job, Effie's life starts to become more manageable, calmer, simpler. But all of that changes at once when HE steps into the picture, songwriter/performer/producer, Jack Teller.

He's enigmatic, gorgeous, and wealthy, the glowing product of so many years of hard work and limitless natural talent, a man so fantastic that he can have literally any woman he wants. And after a highly unexpected encounter, Jack wants Effie--and she can't understand why.

She can't believe that he could actually be serious about wanting a simple girl like her.

Effie's cautious, yet dangerously intrigued by his unremitting advances, his flourishes of passion, worried that she'll find herself in a cat-and-mouse game of steamy emotions. Jack is full of surprises, and she's not ready to give into him--or herself--so easily.

The only problem is, when they're together, it's like perfection.

Even with the challenges...

Even with the secrets...

Even with the hurt from the past...

Can Effie get past her powerful desire for independence and give herself to the one that wants her the most? Maybe what Jack offers is the exactly thing she's been looking for all along...


Of all the great books I have in my e-reader, I stupidly chose this book to read (I think I was pretty delusional then). Seriously, it was my. worst. decision. ever. (This one just landed itself on the top of my books-that-should-never-be-published list!) The main character, Effie was a very naive (as in more naive than a 10 year old NORMAL kid) girl who moved to NYC and met Jack, the rich rockstar aka producer while on work (I am sick of authors throwing the rockstar thing for popularity -.-). Cliché stuff were all over the book (like on every page). And between groaning in pain and tryna stop myself from puking due to Effie's naiveness, I found myself hating this book with all my heart, body and soul. It required lots of patience for me to restrain myself from throwing my e-reader to the wall while reading it. So easy to say, DON'T. READ. THIS. BOOK.


This book annoyed me so much that I don't wanna tire my fingers writing the summary, so here's the excerpts:


The voice hit my ears at the same time the body struck mine, a collision for the ages. My cup of coffee flew out of my hand and spilled across the front of my dark blue blouse. "Shit!" I stood up and set the now-empty cup on the table, examining the damage. There was a huge, dark stain across the front, all the way from my chest to my stomach. Thank God it had cooled off by then.
And then I saw him.
Jack Teller was gorgeous, his white smile nearly blinding, his body taut and perfectly muscular. Probably six foot three, he towered over my meager five foot four. Freshly clean shaven, but would have been perfectly fine with stubble. Classically beautiful, yet modern, urbane.
I couldn't break eye contact with him once it began, his eyes so green, so striking that I could almost drown in them. He was clad in a nice pair of light brown slacks—almost the same color as his hair—that complemented his charcoal sports coat and dress shirt. There was something terribly interesting about him.
He was like the perfect blend of artsy and business oriented. His attire was an obvious attempt to look the professional part, yet his messy brown hair seemed to reveal something entirely different, the tufts flowing in every possible direction. It was just long enough that you could pull on it...
"God, I'm so sorry," he said. "I'm Jack. I didn't see you there." He reached out his hand to shake mine—and time seemed to stop.
Dammit, why was this happening to me?
I froze. Honestly, it was as if I were at the subway. I was stuck, my mind in some other space entirely as the world roared around me. And then, everything rushed back at once, an explosion of lights and colors and sounds. "I'm Effie!" I said. It came out far louder—and excitable—than I intended.
"Let me get you some paper towel," he said as he disappeared around the corner. I heard some mumbling in the background and then suddenly wondered if he was actually going to come back. If he was a super stuck-up businessman, he might just walk out instead of dealing with the undignified hassle of bringing poor me paper towel.
It also seemed very possible that the whole encounter had just been my mind playing tricks on me. Maybe Jack Teller was just an apparition. So many possibilities and so little time to deal with them.
"God, I'm so sorry," he said as he handed me a wad of paper towel. He came back! "I was late, and then I rushed in and—"
"No, no, it's okay," I said, wanting to avoid any additional apologies on his part.
"Effie, what the hell happened?" Sam had stepped into the doorway and only saw me wiping down my blouse with paper towels. A look of horror formed on his face when he realized that his star potential client was standing right next to me. "J-jack?" he mumbled, half to himself, half to Jack.
"Hi, Sam. Jack Teller, as you probably already knew. Sorry, I'm late. Long night in the studio."
Sam's perplexed look was almost as mesmerizing as Jack's beauty. "Uh, Effie, do you have a change of clothes? Why don't you go switch out of those—"
"I think she looks great," Jack said with a smile. "Take a seat, Effie." He was giving my name a test drive after hearing Sam say it.
I blushed and stood there silently for a few seconds, entirely unsure of whose orders I should take. However, my gut told me to sit down. "You can barely see the stain," I said proudly as I reoccupied my former chair.
"Sure, sure, right." Sam closed the door and then walked past me and sat down where he had been before. "Mr. Teller, I really can't tell you how thrilled I am to have you here. You could do huge things with MCI." His tone was ingratiating.
"I'll see what you have to offer my client, and then I'll make my decision." Jack's words were firm, yet reasonable.
The two men started to converse somewhat rapidly, exchanging terms that I didn't understand, making references that were lost on me. I began admiring Jack's cadence when he spoke. The words seemed to flow effortlessly from him, the rhythm so subtle and controlled. There was a tiny twitch in his lip that seemed to surface after every couple of sentences, almost as if his muscles were trying to get in their fair say as well.
I almost burst out laughing at the though.
My mind started crawling toward the gutter, something that was incredibly unusual for me. I don't know if it was the boring subject matter or what, but I imagined my hands in Jack's hair, holding on tightly as he had his way with me. Something—well, Sam, more precisely—told me that Jack was very good at most things he did, and I was certain that the bedroom was another area where he excelled.
"And will Ms. Effie," he trailed off. "What's your last name? I didn't get it before." His eyes burned into me again. He wouldn't look away until I answered, that was for sure.
"Jacobs," I blurted, again too loudly. My cheeks were flushed red and warm. I felt as if he somehow knew what I had been thinking.
"Is Ms. Jacobs going to be the one handling A&R with the artist?"
I suddenly felt very embarrassed. When I looked at Sam, he seemed to be on the same path I was. "I hadn't arranged for that yet. Ms. Jacobs was just listening in on our meeting. She's in accounting and I wanted to give her a feel for one of these—"
"I thought I had asked for a rep," Jack interrupted. "I thought I had made it very clear that I don't make deals without face-to-face meetings with all parties involved."
Sam swallowed a lump in his throat. "I don't remember you saying that. I thought this was just preliminary."
"What do you think, Ms. Jacobs? Is this the best possible deal for my client? She's a new artist and she needs the best in the business. Is MCI the best?" I couldn't figure out how to read the tone of Jack's words. There was a mixture of harshness and curiosity. It actually felt as if he wanted my input even though it seemed painfully obvious that he knew that I barely grasped the situation.
I gulped, wishing I had something to drink. "I'm sure Sam can work out a fair deal with you, Mr. Teller." I didn't know what the hell I was saying.
"Jack, please. I'll drop the Ms. if you drop the Mr. Sounds too formal."
"Jack," I said, fulfilling his request.
"A fair deal, huh? That's all you can offer?"
I could tell that Sam was doing all in his power to keep himself composed. He had become so fragile, yet he was fighting hard to retain a positive outward appearance. "Jack, I'm sure we can—"
"No," Jack interrupted. "I like that. She didn't make a bunch of empty promises like I'm used to you people making. I'll very seriously consider MCI. But for now, I must be on my way. If this is a go, my people will call your people, all right?"
He stood up at once and shook Sam's hand very quickly before moving to mine. No, this wasn't some normal handshake. Our right hands connected and then he brought his left hand over my right, caressing my palm and lightly stroking my knuckles. A shiver broke out across my body, one that I fought to hide.
"It's been a pleasure," Jack said, his brilliant pale green eyes burning into mine. Again, I couldn't look away.
"Thanks, Jack," Sam said awkwardly as the music business mogul and genius departed the boardroom and closed the door behind him. After he had disappeared, I collapsed in the chair, my lungs deflating immediately like an untied balloon.
"What the hell was that?" I said. "The whole thing was so surreal."
"At least he was nice to you," Sam said.
"Is that a good thing? He seemed so cocky," I mumbled, hoping that Jack didn't suddenly reappear in the door.
"Some of these guys are like that. They get famous and their appetites only get worse. If they want it, it's theirs." He paused and then a warm smile broke out across his face. "Hell, I'd do the same thing too if I could."
"Sam!" I cried. "That's terrible. There's more to life than girls and fancy vacations."
"Don't be so sure about that," he said, his smile remaining. "I can't believe he played me like that in front of you, though. Tough son of a bitch."
"What are you talking about?" I wasn't sure what he meant. The whole thing had seemed unusually intense, but I had assumed it was typical in this line of work.
"This was a preliminary meeting. He never said anything about having an A&R person here. I don't know why he said that. I'm not making this up."
"Well, you know better than me." This whole development confused me even more, and something told me that my future was going to include a lot more moments like this one.
"I wish that were the case." Sam shrugged. "I really do."


Life has a way of becoming fascinating and exciting, but only if you let it happen. They said that meditation is just allowing what is, and that was incredibly true for life as well. Things arise, and you acknowledge them, greet them in a friendly tone and accept the possibility.
Not everything requires action or intense consideration. Sometimes you just have to feel it and not get worked up or obsessed about things that didn't really matter.
Every morning waking up next to Jack has been every bit as good as the very first time. Two years have already passed since I first met him in New York at MCI, the start of a whirlwind romance that had diligently followed us through more incredible experiences than I could count.
As predicted by Jack, Lexy took off in a huge way. Today, you can't go anywhere without running into her music, whether it be in a commercial, a movie, or on Spotify. The next concert in NYC after the CD release party took place at Madison Square Garden, something unprecedented for an artist as new as Lexy Brown.
It was huge, a moment I'll never forget. It was the first time I got to see Jack projected on giant video screens that surrounded the stage. I mean, the whole band was up there too, but obviously, I was most focused on the man I loved.
There had been almost a full year of non-stop, national and international touring. We went all across Europe, Asia, and even had stops in Japan and Australia. Everywhere we went, the shows were sold out and the crowds were insane. People loved Lexy. And due to Jack's involvement in the creative process, they loved him too. People recognized him in the street in Japan and begged for photos!
The road was luxurious, nothing like the amateur tours I heard about from friends of friends during college. As crazy as it was, on the United States tour we even had our own private, portable gym, a trailer that followed our caravan across the country and made physical fitness on the go a real thing. I got to experience so much of the world, every moment shared gloriously with Jack.
No matter where we were on the globe, he always knew great places to eat, sites to see, and anything else relevant to those particular GPS coordinates.
The thing was, as much as I loved that lifestyle—it often felt like an incredible, extended vacation—it sometimes felt like too much. Jack appeared to love it, so I usually kept quiet. Honestly, it was a lot of fun, but I was growing more and more worried that I would burn out and become lethargic and difficult to deal with.
And hell, I was lucky to have experiences like that. Most people never knew what life as a rock 'n' roll star was really like.
On another positive note, Jack was becoming more in demand as a producer than ever before. When I say that you couldn't escape Lexy's brilliant music, that was just the tip of the iceberg. Jack was the hit maker of the decade, as Rolling Stone so eloquently put it. It was unclear where that growing demand would take him, but I knew it would be big.
Sam had been sentenced to thirty-one years behind bars with no chance of parole for attempted rape and murder. I had testified at the trial, along with a number of other girls he had harassed over the years. It had been one of the most difficult things I'd ever done in my life. But I had to do it, and as Jack predicted, it brought me some genuine closure.
Facing the things that horrified me only made me stronger. Going through with something so heart-wrenching made everything else in my life that much easier. It was the truth.
Oddly enough, MCI was still around, but less powerful than ever. They had tried to buy Jack's label out on multiple occasions, and he politely told them to get lost. It only made me love him even more. He had lived his whole life wanting to really give the middle finger to a big corporation—and starting his own label had finally given him the opportunity to do so.
I had very seriously taken up writing in my spare time—Jack's suggestion that I find a creative outlet was a very good one indeed—hoping to eventually publish a book or maybe even a movie script. It had come pretty naturally, Jack's encouragement guaranteeing that I made forward progress. I loved putting words down on page, creating characters and stories like the ones I had spent so many years watching and digesting.
He had, unbeknownst to me, shown one of my works to Stacy, who sent me an email telling me how she liked it. That was a hell of a surprise. Hearing that your hero liked your work was a damn good motivator. I haven’t stopped writing ever since.
I was also still doing some of the accounting at the label, so I kept happily busy much of the time. Life felt meaningful and fulfilling, just the way Jack had promised it would be.
Jack and my parents got along great. They loved him from the very beginning, and we often flew to Michigan to spend the weekend at Lake Michigan, not too far from my old house. My dad liked to pick Jack’s brain about investments, and Jack was always eager to tell him what he knew. He even helped my mom in the kitchen, something that she couldn't say enough good things about.
The process of mending things with his parents was slower, however. But that didn't mean it didn't happen. Jack and I talked about it so much that I felt like I had had those negative experiences with his family. I urged him forward, just like he had with me in the Sam situation, encouraging him to face that which troubled him.
So finally, out of the blue one day, we flew to Minneapolis and he told them how he felt. It was a really emotional time, but the formerly tenuous bonds started to strengthen immediately. They weren't defensive at all as he poured out his heart, just accepting of his frustration and bottled up feelings toward them.
And when they apologized, he accepted it this time and wiped the slate clean. Unconditional love had won out in the end. So both of our families would be at our upcoming wedding—and that was perfect.
Timothy eventually apologized to me, shame overwhelming him and putting him into a nasty state of depression. As I predicted, he had realized how out-of-character all of his behavior had been—both before and after my move—and wanted to make amends for it.
I met him one last time—with Jack at my side, of course—prior to him leaving New York City. He was going to return home to work near his family and start over there. I let him gush and apologize for anything he needed to apologize for, knowing damn well that Jack would be ready for the worst if the situation took a nasty one-eighty. Nothing happened, however, and actually, I was glad to get it out of the way.
He was never a bad guy, just one unsuited to me. I didn't like that I had to remember him as the crazy, controlling, vicious, insane ex who had attacked me in a coffee shop. Now, the memories were a bit more subdued. We had closure.
So we were in Los Angeles for the weekend, poolside, sipping wine in the middle of the day. Jack had just gotten back from a brief meeting and told me that he had big news to share with me. Most of the time these days, I went with him to meetings. But this one he had asked to do alone, and I respected his wishes.
He sat down next to me at the hotel pool, clad only in his bathing suit. Our legs dipped in the water as the sun lightly cooked us from above.
"Well, I've decided to retire from touring. I'm just not going to do it anymore."
"Really?" I asked. "I thought you liked it." Inside, I quietly celebrated, my cravings for a more normal life about to come to fruition. We'd get married and settle down, the perfect progression of things.
"It's been burning me out," he said. "I love performing, but I'd rather do it at a local level, if at all. I mostly want to produce. I never wanted to complain in front of the other guys or Lexy because they were always having a blast."
I laughed, realizing he had apparently been thinking the same thing as me all along—but we never spoke of it for fear of offending someone else. "I was actually hoping you'd say something like that. But I was worried that I'd offend you."
Jack kissed my forehead and put his hand around my back. "I don't think you could offend me if you tried."
"I'm pretty good when I'm mad," I said confidently.
"We'll have to test that out sometime." He took a sip of his wine and delicately rested his glass on the cement.
"So does this mean you're going to still fly around all the time to work with people?"
He smiled. "They'll come to me. I don't have to chase them around anymore. I graduated. I'm a pro now."
Holy shit. Once again, the best was getting better. "W-where are you going to work from?"
"Where do you want to live?" he asked curiously.
"Wherever you are." I smiled, realizing it sounded tacky. "Here, maybe."
"Okay. We'll just wait and see then."
"Yeah." I nodded and stared at my reflection in the pool.
"There's one more thing," he said.
"Oh?" I asked.
"I was meeting with a film company today. They bought one of your stories and they want it developed into a script."
"What the fu—"
"I'm not kidding. I should have told you, but I snatched the draft of The Colored Room off the table when you left it there. Stacy said it was damn good, so I read it and then shopped it around after I realized she wasn't just saying that to be nice."
"Holy shit, Jack. I don't even know what to say." I seriously had run out of words entirely.
"Don't say anything. Write it. Make me proud." He pulled me closer and kissed my cheek this time.
"God, I love you, Jack. Maybe too much."
"I know what it's like to suffer from that problem. I'm terminally ill."
We both laughed and spent the rest of the day doing nothing, even though I really wanted to run to my laptop and start the script. This was surreal news, and it was great—but this was also vacation.
As Jack had shown me, sometimes when you stop trying so hard to see through the haze, it finally clears. And then you're left with the most beautiful things your eyes will ever see


1 bitter burnt cupcake.


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