Innocents (Dusty #1) by Mary Elizabeth and Sarah Elizabeth

| July 14, 2014 | 0 Comments


The girl with an innocent heart knows all about bad choices, but has yet to make them for herself. Searching for freedom, she finds it in the delinquent down the hall. 

The troublemaker with summer-sky blue eyes knows he should stay away but can’t resist the blissful wonder who makes his house a home.

She’s a hopeless romantic. He’s just hopeless.

She’s his reason, but he might not catch her when she falls.

She loves him. He loves her crazy.

This is what happens when a love made of secrets is kept with rules instead of promises.


 Writing stories about the skeletons hanging in your closets
Author Bio
Mary Elizabeth is an up and coming author who finds words in chaos, writing stories about the skeletons hanging in your closets. Known as The Realist, she is one half of The Elizabeths—a duo brave enough to never hide the truth. Her anticipated co-written debut novel, Innocents (Dusty #1), will be released July 14, 2014. Inspired by the broken lyrics of a single song and the idea that monsters have softer sides, “Dusty” was originally posted for free and had been read over a million and a half times. Working day and night, she hopes that the published edition will be just as loved. 

Mary was born and raised in Southern California. She is a wife, mother of four beautiful children, and dog tamer to one enthusiastic Pit Bull and a prissy Chihuahua. She’s a hairstylist by day but contemporary fiction, new adult author by night. Mary can often be found finger twirling her hair and chewing on a stick of licorice while writing and rewriting a sentence over and over until it’s perfect. She discovered her talent for tale-telling accidentally, but literature is in her chokehold. And she’s not letting go until every story is told. 

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”—Jeremiah 17:9

Innocents (Dusty #1)
The girl with an innocent heart knows all about bad choices, but has yet to make them for herself. Searching for freedom, she finds it in the delinquent down the hall. 

The troublemaker with summer-sky blue eyes knows he should stay away but can’t resist the blissful wonder who makes his house a home.

She’s a hopeless romantic. He’s just hopeless.

She’s his reason, but he might not catch her when she falls.

She loves him. He loves her crazy.

This is what happens when a love made of secrets is kept with rules instead of promises.

Available 7/14/14
Branded: A Bad Boys Anthology
B.L. Wilde, Jeanne McDonald, Jo Matthews, Mary Elizabeth, and Sarah Elizabeth give us five good reasons why good girls love bad boys. The men of Branded are sexy, adventurous, and troubled deep into their souls. There may be no redeeming them, but at the risk of losing everything, these good girls must decide if loving their bad boy is indeed worth the cost.
Available 8/23/2014
Delinquents (Dusty #2)
Available 10/23/2014
Available 2015
An excerpt from Innocents (Dusty #1)
Thomas leans down and kisses the side of my throat, running his hand up the back of my white dress. He tugs the hair at the nape of my neck. “What did you do while I was gone?” he asks, his voice calm as tension rolls through him.
I laugh sorrowfully in his arms. “You mean, who was I with when you took off for over a month?”
Thomas groans in my ear, pulling my hair a little harder. He tightens his fingers into a fist and presses his nose to my jaw. “I swear to God.” He breathes. “I’ll kill him.”
I grip onto his arm and dig my nails into his skin. The bricks stacked higher every night he was gone, and like that, I crumble.
“No one,” I say, moving my hand underneath his chin. Forcing him to look at me, I hold Thomas by his face.
This isn’t the boy I grew up loving; this is a man who brings me along for his ride.
“Because I love you.” I refuse to allow fear into my voice. “Because I love you, nobody else will ever touch me. Even though you are constantly touched.”
He closes his eyes, shaking his head with a small smirk. We’re still pressed near. I can feel his words on my skin. “I haven’t been with anyone.”
My heart cracks, and I hate him for this.
His eyes open, and I miss blue.
Thomas’ grip on my hair loosens, but he gathers me completely to his chest. I’m held until everything I’ve heard and felt, wondered and worried, decided and became in his absence, dissipates. He holds me until there is nothing between us but my dress and his shirt.
Love is fucked-up, but love is all there is.
Thomas flattens his right hand against the small of my back, pressing and keeping me close. He drags his nose slowly up the side of mine and kisses my top lip.
“Come with me,” he whispers.
I breathe in his words, and when I exhale my reply, it’s easy.
“Okay,” I say.
And it doesn’t feel a thing like falling.
An excerpt fromLow
There’s a choice to make.
I can shelter my mother and little sister for another month, or I can fill the refrigerator with food. White skinned in a mostly black neighborhood, bordered by LA’s dirtiest gang bangers and junkies, living homeless on the streets of Inglewood isn’t an option for my girls; they’re narrowly sheltered from drive-bys and police beatings in the piece of shit house we rent as it is.
With a half-gallon of milk, some frozen burritos, and a pack of Ramen noodles, Mom and Ginny won’t starve in the week until the food stamp card rebalances. Turning over every dime I’ve made, mowing lawns and trimming hedges in the last month, to the impatient landlord is a simple decision.
But I’m hungry, and I don’t want an icy bean and cheese burrito.
“Take the hood off.”
The bell above the swing door jingles as I pass under. Dimly lit by the dusty florescent lights above, the air is thick with the scent of lavender incense and stale tobacco. An older man with dark brown skin and dark black hair eyes me suspiciously under bushy eyebrows from behind the counter.
I do as he requests and push back my hood, exposing my entire face and a head of sweat-sticky blond hair.
“Sorry,” I mumble, keeping my head down to avoid eye contact.
The bottom of my worn tennis shoes stick to the tacky linoleum floor. A fly buzzes past my sunburned ear, sending chills down my right arm. I swat at the hovering insect as a bead of warm sweat dips down the back of my overheated neck.
“What are you looking for?” the store clerk asks in a thick Mexican accent. A TV on his side of the counter blares some sports game; he turns it down.
“Nothing, man,” I say as I walk down a food aisle.
“We close in two minutes. Hurry up and get what you need.” The volume goes back up.
Bullshit, I think to myself. It’s summertime, not much past eight o’clock in South Central. This joint will be open all night to serve the whores and hustlers who occupy every corner down Manchester.
Even crooks get thirsty.

Reviews for Innocents (Dusty #1)
Jun 28, 14
5 of 5 stars
Read on June 28, 2014
This book is everything I imagined it would be, and more. A deep portrayal of those first real life experiences that all play a pivotal part and shape who we become. A tale of friendship, family, love, innocence, confusion, bad choices, heartache and everything else in-between.

Dusty Innocents is that step back in time, as we experience all those firsts all over again in the voice of a young girl and an adolescent boy, whom due to a three year age gap hide the escalating feelings they hold for one another. Hormonal, confused and scared, the effects of keeping a secret so tight lead to both characters taking different paths that ultimately still lead back to each other. A fork in the road, one that is selfless and forgiving, the other destructive and dangerous.

Bliss and Dusty are opposites, yet two sides of the same coin. Love is beautiful as much as it is painful and for these two kids, it is certainly never going to be easy.

A beautifully written and deeply compelling story that will have you turning the pages well into the night. A must read!!!

Jun 29, 14
5 of 5 stars
Read on June 29, 2014
My dear God! This book is just… It’s just… Raw, and emotional… And soooooo intense. It’s painfully sweet and rash and heartbreakingly beautiful… I loved this… I cannot wait for the next book…
Elizabeth Todd‘s review 
Dec 05, 13
5 of 5 stars
bookshelves: i-m-seeing-stars 
I can’t even begin to explain what this story means to me. This story is my childhood, my teenage-hood, and my new found adulthood. I’ve never felt so strongly about a book before, ever. Innocents being published is going to be one of the best things that happens to me in my life, to love a story this much and to see the authors work so hard to make it a reality is truly something so inspiring that it’ll bring you to tears. When I first read this fan fiction, it left me absolutely starry-eyed, I had never cried so hard in my life. Bliss is my inner goddess and I feel like I relate to her so well, and the imagery that the authors create for you will literally feel surreal and you’ll find yourself experiencing so many ranges of emotions, you’ll be experiencing love through a someone else’s mind; It hits you so hard with waves of nostalgia, you’ll feel like you’ll explode. I have never been so passionate about virtually anything. Dusty was written for me, Dusty was written so everyone could read and understand how precious growing up is, Dusty was written so everyone would understand that Love can easily break you just as much as it can make you feel amazing. I will forever love Dusty, and all that’s it about. Most beautiful writing I’ve ever experienced and my utmost respect to The Elizabeths.

Thank you so much.

Brittany Rochelle‘s review 
Jun 28, 14
5 of 5 stars
bookshelves: arcfavoriteshighly-recommended 
Read from June 27 to 28, 2014
WOW! WOW! WOW! My mind is blown. I have no words. The writing is beautiful. The story is heart-breaking and brilliant and real. ALL THE FEELS! I’m speechless and I have no clue how the crap I am going to write a full review of this for the blog tour. My heart fucking hurts. It has never hurt this much and I’ve read my fair share of emotional books.




“I looked and looked at her, and I knew, as clearly as I know that I will die, that I loved her more than anything I had ever seen or imagined on earth. She was only the dead-leaf echo of the nymphet from long ago – but I loved her, this Lolita, pale and polluted and big with another man’s child. She could fade and wither – I didn’t care. I would still go mad with tenderness at the mere sight of her face.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
Isn’t that amazing? 
Despite its controversial plot, nothing I’ve read before, or since, has affected me the way Nabokov’s Lolita has. I went on to read more of Vladimir’s work, including Mary and Ada, or Ardor, and while I enjoyed both, especially Ada, they didn’t move me like Lolita. 



I consumed the book, and it’s an experience I can only explain as spiritual. It felt as if the words came off the pages and knotted themselves around my heart, breaking it and putting it back together with each paragraph. 


 I didn’t want it to end, but when it did, I had fallen in love. 
After literally crying because I won’t ever be able to read Lolita again for the first time, I did the next logical thing. 
I jumped on the internet. 
And fell in love all over again. 
Vladimir Nabokov was this outstanding, unique, and brilliant man. Long gone from this world, I wept for his loss while I read quotes and ate up available interviews he did while alive. 



 This went on for days—maybe a week or two. When I had my fill, I wanted to write! If I remember correctly, we were right in the middle of writing Dusty, and my love for Lolita inspired me to introduce a new character into the story. Through a small part, “Lo” was one of the most memorable. 


 With a new name, this character who would not exist unless Nabokov did, made the cut into the published version, Innocents. 
“I have rewritten, often several times, every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.”

Vladimir Nabokov
Easily three years later, when I find myself in need of inspiration, I open my copy of Lolita and read random pages in no specific order. 
It never fails. 



(FYI: the butterfly thing is a total coincidence!) 


 Aside from Lolita, I’m inspired by many lots. For anyone who has ever read anything I’ve written, you should know how important music is in my work. Last year, I saw Mumford and Sons in concert, and though dramatic, I feel like it changed my life. 
There is nothing like hearing the music that inspires me live in person. It’s as if my words are secretly woven between their lyrics. 
A very great friend of mine purchased Christina Perri and Birdy tickets for me for Christmas. Jar of Hearts is the reason Dusty and Bliss even exist! That was unreal. I wanted to run up to Christina and thank her for being born. 
Blue Valentine is my favorite movie, so if I ever need to write a scene that is particularity sad, I’ll watch the tragic love story. 



I people watch and listen to conversations I’m not supposed to hear. Strangers inspire me. And food. During the winter, my favorite thing to drink while working on whatever I’m writing are Pumpkin Frapps. I associate the flavor with comfort, and just like that, I can write. 


As an artist, it’s not hard for me to find creativity in my surroundings, down to the way people walk or sleep or smile. 
It’s not without effort, but worth it. 




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by FS Meurinne

Category: Contemporary Fiction, New Adult, Romance

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