Love Me Steady by Elle Vanzandt Publication Date: December 27, 2014 Genres: New Adult, Romance
Penelope ‘Nellie’ Brennan has finally had it! Tired of her health problems holding her back, Nellie is determined to do just whatever she wants to do and no one is going to stop her. First item on the list for the determined 17-year old: secure a date to her first school formal dance. Second: find the perfect dress.
Brian Moss has agreed to a favor for his Mama: take her friend’s daughter to the girl’s first formal dance. All it took was a glance at Nellie for Brian’s interest to be piqued. He needed to know more. What started out as a half-blind date, soon became so much more when Brian learns of Nellie’s big secret. Even after discovering the truth, Brian doesn’t run from her. Nellie is as surprised as those near and dear to her. But can Nellie trust him to stay? Will Brian be able to handle things when they get even harder? Can their quickly-deepening relationship survive the truth?
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About Elle Vanzandt

Elle Vanzandt grew up a Navy brat who has had the privilege of living in many places but she will always call Illinois her home. A wife to a caring husband, a stay-at-home mom to two amazing children, a blogger, and a writer, she wears many hats. With determination and strength taught to her by her mother, she has made it through many obstacles, always sticking with the family motto ‘pull up your bootstraps and get it done’. Writing is an adventure she could have never predicted but is enjoying the ride all the same.
1. I Hold On – Dierks Bentley
2. She’s So Gone – Naomi Scott
3. How Could I Want More – Jamie Lynn Spears
4. Follow Your Arrow – Kacey Musgraves
5. That’s What Angels Do – Laura Bell Bundy
6. Compass – Lady Antebellum
7. We Are Tonight – Billy Currington
8. See You Again – Carrie Underwood
9. I Don’t Want This Night To End – Luke Bryan
10. Let Me Love You – Ne-Yo
11. Who I Am With You – Chris Young
12. Live It Up – Brantley Gilbert
13. Picture on the Dashboard – Brantley Gilbert
14. How Country Feels – Randy Houser
15. One Life – Boyce Avenue
16. Speed Limit – Boyce Avenue
17. Wait For Me – Theory Of A Deadman
18. All In – Lifehouse
19. Whatever It Takes – Lifehouse
20. God Gave Me You – Blake Shelton
21. Only You Can Love Me This Way – Keith Urban
22. Stay With Me – Sam Smith
23. Piece of You – Erato
24. When We’re Together – Joshua Radin
25. Roller Coaster – Luke Bryan
26. Love Me Harder – The Weekend, Ariana Grande
Playlist Link:


Excerpt #1: Love Us Some Books

“So, Brian, what do you want to do after high school?”

“Wow, you are a curious one, aren’t you?”

It wouldn’t be the first time someone accused me of being too curious.

“Guilty, but you still didn’t answer my question.”

“Hmm…ok. But before I answer I want to ask you something. Do you know what you want to do after high school?”

“Ah, but if I answer first it may make you change your answer. Come on, you know you want to tell me…”

“Little Cat, you know me so well! Frankly, I have no clue what I want to do after high school. Don’t get me wrong, I have dreams, but a plan of action to achieve them? Yeah, I got nothing.”

Little Cat? Smartass.

“That has to be the most honest answer I have ever heard. Most kids our age automatically throw out college or trade school, like it’s expected. You didn’t. Very interesting.”

I looked down at my menu to take a break from Brian’s eyes. They spoke more than I was willing to commit to. This date was only a favor, nothing more.

Brian held his hand out for me as Luke Brian’s song Roller Coaster came on. “This is my favorite song.” He smiled as I placed my hand in his and we moved towards the dance floor. How could I refuse?

He swept me up in his arms and began a fluid movement across the floor as he two-stepped like a pro. Being a country town, it was a quietly understood requirement to know how to line dance but two-stepping was reserved for the older set and I was a bit shocked he knew how.

“Who taught you to dance?”

“My Mimi. She always said, ‘Brian, one day you will need to sweep a girl off her feet and the best way to sweep is while dancing.’ It always made me laugh and I never took her seriously but I’m starting to think she may have had a point.” A small smile crept onto his face and his eyes lit up a bright green color like that of fresh-cut grass and I was enchanted.

“Nellie? Are you ok?” He asked me the simple question as he pulled a hanky from his pocket to wipe my chin of the saliva from my seizure. Foaming at the mouth again.

“Andy, help me up.” I begged my friend with my eyes as I turned away from Brian. Another loss to the big ‘E’. She grabbed my arms and helped me to sit up. I hated that I was pulling her away from her date, David, but I knew Brian would want nothing to do with me and, for once, it really hurt. By this point, six years after my diagnosis, I was so used to it that usually I just brushed it off and moved on. But Brian was different. I had only known the guy for a few hours in person, a week of texting, but in that short time he had seen through me. My shield of stone was useless. Maybe it was because he could relate. I would never know.

“Nellie, look at me.” His words were harsh and shocking. I turned slowly towards him. Reluctantly, I moved my eyes upward and came face-to-face with a look of such determination that surprised me.

“I don’t give a good god-damn about what just happened. I care about you. Now answer me and tell me, are you ok?” His words were so unexpected I had to look to Andy for confirmation. She just wore a huge, shit-eating grin...and the game point goes to the fucked-up, badass fairy godmother.

He grabbed both my hands and kissed my palms. “Oh, Baby, I don’t ever plan on stopping our adventures unless you tell me to. I love sharing new things with you. You make me feel alive and force me to be present.”

Inwardly I wondered what he meant about being present, but I decided to shelve it for a later conversation.

“Ok, adventure boy, where are we going tonight?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know, Little Cat?” He openly and fully laughed at me and I pouted. He knows how impatient I am about surprises.

“Are you pouting, Baby?”

“Yes, because you are no fair!”

Brian yanked me forward, lifted me up, and gave me the most delicious kiss he had ever given me. I looked up at him as I wrapped my legs around his waist and my arms around his neck.

“Why did you do that?”

“Because, Little Cat, that mouth of yours when you pout is my undoing.”

“Good to know.” I gave him my most mischievous grin and I knew there was a sparkle in my eye.

“Shit! Now I’m really in trouble.”

“Oh Bri, I would never use your weakness against you…” I giggled as he smacked my ass. I gasped, shocked.

“Behave now, Baby, or there may just be more where that came from.” The trademark smirk turned up the corners of his mouth and I knew I was in trouble.

“Now get in the truck, Little Cat, because we have an adventure to begin.”

Rolling over, I pushed my head into my pillow smelling Brian’s scent. Immediate happiness flowed through me. I love that man. As my head came out of the Brian cologne cloud, I realized he wasn’t in bed with me anymore and I panicked. I bolted upright whipping my head back and forth in search of him. That’s when my door slowly opened and Brian was standing before me.

Now that’s the vision I want to wake to for the rest of my life. Brian was still all sleep mussed but it looked good, no, hot, on him. In his hands he had a tray of all my favorite breakfast foods. Breakfast in bed with my guy? I had to be dreaming.

“Miss Nellie, I have brought your breakfast. Is there anything else I can do for you today, Miss?”

Oh, so funny. “Why yes, Jeeves, if you could ask my man meat to come back to bed with me I would be forever grateful.”

“Man meat, Miss? Are you referring to the young Mr. Moss? Because I believe he…”

I leapt out of bed and Brian barely had time to set down the tray before I launched myself at him and kissed every inch of his face while he started laughing.

“Brian Moss, you are a good man. Did you know that?”

“Is there a right way to answer that?”

“I am a very lucky girl.” I had a perpetual grin on my face that I never wanted to leave. Brian made me so happy.

“Brian, I love you, but I don’t need rescuing. I can save myself. All you earned by not telling me is years of making it up to me. Flowers, chocolates, jewel…”

I got cut off by Brian kissing me. I was ok with that because it’s where I wanted to be.

“Years, huh? I think I can handle that. But tell me, Little Cat, if it’s not you who needs rescuing then who does?”

“You do. I’ve drawn my sword and slain the monsters; all we need is a Happily Ever After and a castle.”

“Well, of course. Do you need the white horse to ride off into the sunset on?”

“Nah, I’ve got a pick-up truck. It’s got all the horsepower I’ll ever need.”

Brian started laughing like I had never seen him do. It was light-hearted and easy. I could see the hesitation disappearing from his eyes and I knew I was right. My prince had always been Brian. He was my Happily Ever After.

“I love you, Penelope Elizabeth Brennan.”

“I love you, Brian Andrew Moss. Now drive me off into the sunset in our trusty steed.”

“Ours? You planning on driving my truck, Baby?”

“Oh, I just bet you want me driving your truck. You going to teach me how to shift your stick?”

A grin that screamed up-to-no-good crossed Brian’s face and I took off running. I planned to drive his truck all right, but it didn’t mean I was going to make it easy!


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