The Rules of Persuasion

The Rules of Persuasion

by Amity Hope

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640631571
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 08/14/2017
Series: Rules of Persuasion , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 96,340
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Amity lives in beautiful northern Minnesota with her two sons, two cats and their Rottweiler.

She has a degree in elementary education and worked in that field for ten years before deciding to chase her dream. Her debut novel, Twisted, was listed by Amazon as a Top 100 Kids&Teens Kindle Book of 2012.

If she's not writing, or spending time with her boys, she's most likely reading.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Meg

I slowly backed away from Laurel High School. My footsteps were nearly soundless, courtesy of the thick soles on my motorcycle boots. With every step I took, my most recent creation became a little more lost in the shadows. I hitched my backpack higher up my shoulder, the cans of spray paint rattling around. The little metal balls inside each can clanged, creating a raucous melody.

The brick wall was my canvas, but to say I was an artist was a stretch. To call my work a masterpiece was blasphemy. Still, my signature piece — my only piece — was improving with every rendition.

Light from the streetlamps didn't reach nearly this far. Our school was on the edge of town in a quiet neighborhood. It was set back from the street, laced in by a row of hedges. I was able to work in relative privacy. Of course, it helped that at this time of night most everyone was asleep.

I paused for a moment to press my fingertips to my lips, then closed my eyes and blew the kiss up into the starry sky, willing it to reach the heavens. As always, I felt as if another little chunk of the weight holding me down floated away with it. It was why I did this — not every night, but often enough. Painting was cathartic.

Another step backward landed me against something solid. Solid with a bit of give. I knew instinctively I hadn't bumped into something but rather someone. I reflexively lurched forward, losing my balance as my boot nicked the raised edge of the sidewalk. An arm whipped around me and tugged me backward, caging me in. I sucked in a breath, ready to scream.

His free hand clamped over my mouth to muffle the sound.

I tried to pull my elbow back to get in at least one good jab, but his arm was still looped around me, pinning my body to his. I tried to suck in another deep breath, but his hand remained over my mouth.

"Hey. Don't scream. You don't want everyone looking out their windows, do you?" His voice sounded frantic, as frantic as my own clanging heart.

Did I? Probably. Then someone could call the police to get this crazy guy off me. I did the only thing I could think of. I lifted my feet, forcing him to support all my weight with the single arm he had around me. It worked and nearly toppled us both.

"Damn." He dropped me to the ground, not letting go completely. His hand fell from my mouth, joining his other hand around my waist, trying to steady me as we stumbled.

"I'm not going to hurt you," he said. "You crashed into me. I was trying to keep you upright when you decided to yell."

I regained my footing as his hands slid away. He was only feet from me, but with the streetlight behind him, his face was nothing more than a silhouette. I backed away and he followed. The movement pulled him from the light and into the shadows, where, ironically, I could see him better.

I groaned.

I knew this guy.

He narrowed his eyes at me, and in that instant I knew he was trying to place me as well.

Lightning fast, he reached for me. I tried to swat his hand away, but in my shocked stupor I was a second too slow, and he pulled the black knit cap from my head.

My face was average, fairly unremarkable. But my hair? It was what everyone remembered about me. Long and auburn, it cascaded to my elbows in bouncy waves. It was my best feature and right now, as it tumbled from beneath my cap to shimmer in the dim lighting, it was a traitorous one.

He dangled my cap in front of me. I quickly swiped it out of his hand.

"So this is what the mysterious Meg Matthews does in her free time." His tone held a hint of gloating.

I was hardly mysterious. If he didn't know a thing about me, it was because we drifted in different social circles. He was neck deep in the crowd that thought they ruled the school. I was perfectly happy being part of a trio that floated around the fringes.

He was staring past me, checking out my mural. "It looks even better up close."

I was tempted to kick him in the family jewels so I could make a run for it. That, I knew, would wipe the smug, knowing look off his face. But it was probably a very bad idea to mess with the Prescott family's precious jewels, both literally and figuratively speaking.

The Prescotts were one of the wealthiest families in town. His dad was the Prescott in Prescott & Holbrook, the prestigious law firm that was notorious for representing corporations of questionable standing. Everyone in town knew to never cross the Prescotts.

It was best not to mess with this boy.

Making up my mind, I sidestepped him and took off at a pace that was not quite a run. He darted in front of me. I let out an embarrassingly loud yelp as I nearly slammed into him for the second time in a matter of minutes.

"Whoa, slow down," he ordered. "Where do you think you're going?"

"Home." I shrugged.

I tried to take another step, but he blocked my way again. For several long seconds we did a sloppy dance of darting and dodging. Tired of our charade, I stopped and looked up into his eyes.

I straightened my spine and squared my shoulders. I was taller than most of the girls at school. Still, I wasn't quite as tall as him, even in my heeled boots. That didn't matter. I wasn't going to let him intimidate me.

"Get out of my way, Luke."

"Not quite yet."

"Excuse me? Are you going to stop me?" I hoped my voice wasn't quaking the same way my insides were.

A wicked look of amusement flashed across his face.

"I'm out of here." I shoved past him. The traitorous cans of paint banged together. The sound echoed in my ears.

He grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me to a stop. His fingers held tightly enough to be a warning, but not enough to hurt.

"What?" I snapped.

"I caught you vandalizing a building. I think you better be a little nicer to me." His tone was soft, friendly. Fake.

I snorted out an indignant laugh. "Is that a threat? And you didn't catch me doing anything."

"Are you sure about that?" he taunted.

"You don't know that I did anything wrong. Maybe I was just walking by. In fact, I was just walking by."

He reached around me and gave my backpack a nudge. The metal paint cans clinked together again, announcing my guilt. Damn those cans of paint and their telltale rattling.

He smirked.

I gritted my teeth.

He snatched up my right hand and held it between both of his. The soft glow of the streetlamp made the drying paint stand out like crusty blood on my fingers.

He laughed. "I have literally caught you red-handed."

My heart hammered so hard it ached in my chest.

His grip loosened. It was his words that held me in place now. "Not to mention I was watching you. From right over there." He motioned toward the row of hedges that edged the school lawn.

"Really?" I scoffed. "Who would've guessed Luke Prescott has a fetish for creeping on girls."

He shook his head, that smug smile making my blood sizzle. "Uh-uh. You're not turning this around on me. Not when you're the one breaking the law."

"So ... what? You're going to tattle on me?" I crossed my arms over my chest, clenching my fists in an attempt to keep my hands from shaking.

We were only a week into senior year. I'd get suspended for this, more than likely expelled. Not to mention any charges the police would press.

In the past year I'd tagged maybe a dozen buildings, sidewalks, and other random surfaces ... and I'd never been caught. I hated to admit it, but the truth was that when I had a can of paint in my hand, I felt invincible.

I had more riding on this than Luke knew.

He looked over my head and eyed my work again. He chewed on his lip, giving the impression that he was mulling things over. I was sure it was all for show. He clearly knew exactly what his answer was going to be.

He wanted me to squirm.

Well, I wouldn't do it. Not for him.

I let out what I hoped was a bored-sounding sigh. He probably expected me to wait all night for him. He was the kind of guy who was spoiled, entitled, used to getting what he wanted. He had gorgeous cornflower blue eyes and golden hair that curled up at the edges of his ball cap. His dimples would've made him look angelic if it weren't for the smile that was so devilish. He looked just innocent enough to be dangerous.

"Tell ya what," he said. "Let's make a deal. I'll keep this quiet, but you'll owe me a favor."

I grimaced as his eyes scanned over me. I was wearing black leggings and a black long-sleeve fitted T-shirt. Under Luke's scrutiny the form-fitting duo felt oddly promiscuous.

"No."

"You really aren't in the position to refuse me."

"And yet," I said, "that's exactly what I intend to do."

"You sure are feisty." It sounded suspiciously like a compliment. "How can you be so sure you'll say no? You don't even know what the favor is."

"Then enlighten me."

He shrugged. "I don't know yet. I'm working on it."

My face crinkled in confusion. "Working on it?" He tapped his head with two fingers. "Working on it."

"Right." I took off.

He fell into step beside me. His running shoes quickly matched the rhythm of my boots. One look at him and it was pretty clear what he'd been up to. He was wearing athletic shorts and a faded baseball T-shirt. Now that my intense panic had ebbed into a feeling of minor trepidation, I could make out the faded scent of his cologne mingled with a subtle hint of sweat.

I stopped.

So did he.

"What are you doing?" I demanded. "Don't you have a midnight run to finish?"

He made a face at me, as if the answer was obvious, and said, "I'm walking you home. Come on." He held out his hand, probably expecting me to melt at the gesture, like a snowflake in his palm. I was no flake. There would be no melting on my part.

I took a step back, and he dropped his hand to his side.

"You know where I live?" I asked incredulously.

"No," he grinned. "I figured you'd lead the way."

I was unfairly thrown by his smirk and the repeat appearance of his dimples. I stared at him stupidly for a moment before regaining my senses.

"I don't need you to walk me home." I made a shooing motion with my fingers. "Go away."

"Not happening." He crossed his arms over his chest and stared me down.

"What? Why? It's not enough that you harassed me, bullied me, and threatened me? Now you're going to stalk me, too?"

He looked around, motioning to our surroundings. We had reached the sidewalk that lined the deserted street. "It's late. It's dark. You're a girl."

"And you're sexist."

He snorted. "Hardly. I couldn't live with myself if something happened to you because I was too lazy to see you home."

"Are you serious right now? This is Laurel!" Our northern California town was quiet, idyllic. It was far enough inland to deter tourists but close enough to the Pacific to make weekend picnics at the coast ideal. "Nothing happens here!" "Says Laurel's most top-secret criminal." He nodded sagely.

I ignored his sarcasm. "You don't have to walk me home."

"I do."

"Actually," I pointed down the street, "you don't." The silhouette of my Honda Rebel was visible within the shadows of a dogwood tree. The leaves rustled in the autumn breeze. "I'm driving. I'll get home just fine. Thank you." My tone relayed anything but thankfulness.

"Awesome motorcycle," he murmured reverentially. "Will you give me a ride?"

I raised an eyebrow. "Is that the favor you want?" He frowned. "No."

"Then, no." I smiled sweetly back at him. "I'm going to go now. Got it?"

He didn't stop me as I scurried away from him. Instead his voice floated across the distance I'd covered.

"Don't worry, Meg. I'll keep in touch."

I quickened my pace.

It felt as if I took forever to cover the distance to my Rebel. The moment I did I felt a wave of relief spill through me. Hopefully Luke was all talk and I would never have to think of this night again. I tossed my leg over the side, yanked my helmet on, and moments later my bike roared to life.

My metallic blue baby was hardly ideal for a stealthy getaway. That's why I always parked several blocks away. The machine rumbled beneath me, familiar and comforting. With a nudge of the throttle, it would whisk me away from here.

I dared a glance over my shoulder before I took off. Luke was standing right where I'd left him, his arms crossed over his chest. One hand listlessly tapped against a sculpted bicep. He gazed at me with an intensity that made me tremble.

A favor? I couldn't imagine what that boy could ever want from me.

CHAPTER 2

Meg

I ducked into a classroom when I saw our guidance counselor, Miss Perez, strolling in my direction. As always she wore an immaculate pantsuit, kitten heels, and a dainty string of pearls. Her glossy black hair was snipped into a flawless bob. She looked like she belonged in a private practice office. Not a cramped, windowless cubicle that harbored the smells of teachers' lunches nuked in the break room across the hall.

Shortly after Sydney's terminal diagnosis three years ago, my parents insisted I meet with someone to help me cope. It was too bad they didn't abide by the same rule. While I missed my little sister beyond measure, at least I was able to get out of bed in the morning. I hadn't cut myself off from my friends or retreated into a shell of my former self. Not like my mother had. And my father? He had thrown himself so totally and completely into his business that we hardly saw him anymore.

I had crept through the front door last night, not at all surprised to find Mom sleeping on the couch. I made my way up the stairs to the sound of Dad's soft, rumbling snores. He always slept with the bedroom door open — no matter how bad of a fight they had — a standing invitation for my mother to join him.

She never did.

As far as I knew she hadn't slept in their bed since Sydney died.

The clickety-clack of Miss Perez's heels grew louder, and then the sound receded as she passed by.

Most days I wouldn't even consider avoiding her. Today was a different story. Miss Perez could read me easier than her favorite psychology text. One look at my face and she'd likely know I'd gotten myself into trouble last night.

I eased back into the crowded hallway.

I hadn't been able to sleep after last night's excitement, so I'd gotten up early. I took advantage of the extra time by coating myself in imaginary armor. My eyeliner was a little thicker, my eye shadow a little darker.

I'd slipped into my favorite boots. They were black, up to my knees, with silver buckles down the sides. The spiked heels gave my height enough of a boost that they should put me at eye level with Luke. I was anticipating a run in with him. I didn't want him to have any sort of advantage over me. Not even the advantage of height.

My leather pants were previously reserved solely for riding. My black sweater hung loosely off one shoulder. I hoped it screamed edgy. I wanted to give off a don't-mess-with-me vibe without coming across as totally tacky.

My best friend, Francesca Rossini, swooped in from behind me as I neared my locker. Her fingers dug into my biceps as she pulled me into an alcove. Francesca was petite, yet her temper could be monstrous.

"What were you thinking?" Her words were a hiss, her dark brown eyes alert as they scanned the hallway, making sure no one was listening. She shoved an unruly dark curl behind her ear. It defiantly bounced right back, landing against her olive-toned cheek.

Francesca was the only person I'd ever told about my late-night obsession.

She obviously didn't approve.

I couldn't blame her. If she knew the murals were in honor of Sydney, she'd probably be more understanding. But it hurt too much to talk about, so I'd never explained it, not even to her.

"I mean, the school? It's one thing to paint an abandoned building that no one is going to notice. It's another thing entirely to paint the freaking school." She jammed her fists onto her hips.

I pinched the bridge of my nose. "I know."

"What if someone had seen you? Do you know how much trouble —"

Her gaze zeroed in on something past my shoulder. I twisted around to see what had her so bewildered and found myself facing Luke. I couldn't remember if he was normally in this hallway in the morning.

He grinned at me like we were old pals.

"Hey, Meg. How's it going?"

I stuffed down a groan and fought the urge to give him the bird.

He continued to smile.

I glared back.

I felt Francesca's gaze swing between us.

He said, "Did you get home safely last night?" "I obviously did," I replied through gritted teeth.

"So I stopped by the office this morning. I had to hand in some paperwork for a class I dropped. Principal Prichard is not a happy man right now. He's mad, Meg, real mad." Luke shook his head, attempting to look forlorn.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Rules of Persuasion"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Amity Hope.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Rules of Persuasion 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Danii_045 More than 1 year ago
The Rules of Persuasion Amity Hope Book Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ❣ I love fake dating books. Meg is a feisty rebel, but unfortunately for her, she has just been caught getting up to mischief. Meg has her reasons, but she is not big on sharing. Luke needs to get his ex-girlfriend off his back. After catching Meg damaging school property, he decides she is the perfect girl to help him with his problem. He blackmails her into being his fake girlfriend. This story has been written a million times before, but I really enjoyed this version. Luke may be popular, and good looking, but Meg isn't even slightly interested. She sees him as a spoilt rich boy. I like the way this book comes together. They are two people with a difficult family life who just need a friend to lean on. Hopefully, it will lead to more ;) 4.5 stars out of 5. *I received an ARC in exchange for a fair review*
etoile1996 More than 1 year ago
the rules of persuasion pairs up grief-stricken graffiti artist meg matthews with all-american rich baseball player luke prescott. he catches her in the act of tagging the school, and blackmails her in order to get his ex-girlfriend and mother off his back. what starts out as a relationship filled with suspicion and distrust changes over time as meg and luke get to know each other. it's partly because they have that terrible start that they can be their most honest selves around each other. slowly meg realizes that life isn't as perfect for luke as she imagined, while also managing to move past her grief after losing her sister and coming back to her old self. being with luke sets her free, but as their relationship deepens the threat of meg being exposed as the graffiti artist increases. even though luke has no intention of spilling the beans, meg's design is easily recognizable and she hasn't been great about keeping it secret. when being with luke wakes her up to the danger she is in, she regrets being so reckless, even as there is nothing she can do to change things. luke and meg have crazy chemistry from the get-go and what I love about their relationship is that they not only fall in love, they become friends. seeing them together is perfectly dreamy. **the rules of persuasion will publish on august 14, 2017. I received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (crush) in exchange for my honest review.
kozbisa More than 1 year ago
Rating: 3.5 Stars Five Things I Loved About The Rules of Persuasion: 1. I have read many books where a fauxmance turns into a romance, but I still love it. I really adored seeing Luke and Meg's relationship evolve and change. In an effort to make their relationship look "real", they began spending time together, but eventually, they began seeking solace in each other. It was all sorts of awww-sweet for me. 2. The sibling connections were so lovely. Luke and his older brother, Gabe, had a united front in trying to escape their parents overreaching control, while each thing Meg shared with us about her sister just made my heart explode. I swear, I was moved to tears. 3. There was a lot of great banter between Meg and Luke. It was initially sparring, but grew to be friendly teasing and flirting. I absolutely enjoyed the fun and sassy stuff, but I probably equally adored when they bared their souls to each other. 4. These two really grew to support each other. The more time they spent with each other, the more they shared their personal woes. They were both dealing with a lot of family drama and emotional pain. I was so happy once they had each other to lean on and run to when they need comfort. 5. And the pièce de résistance - the grand gesture! I love when there is that big gesture, that is meant to win the other person over by showing them the depth and breath of your affection. This one was pretty major, and did double duty by tying up some loose ends too. Overall: So much to love in this fake relationship turned true love story.
BookishKhaleesi More than 1 year ago
THE RULES OF PERSUASION is a quick, summer read that has a great dose of adorable mixed with just the right amount of family drama. It’s never overwhelming, but just enough to make you interested what’s going to happen to our two main characters. Plus my favorite type of YA Romance stories: fake relationships turned real The book centers on Meg and Luke. After a tragedy struck Meg’s family, Meg looks for release in a dangerous way, spray painting a mural on buildings. One night, she gets caught by the star pitcher of the baseball team, Luke Prescott. Luke strikes a deal with her –pretend to be his girlfriend and his lips are sealed. What happens next is truly an entertaining read. We follow Meg and Luke as they find out their perceptions of each other were way off and their what they thought was fake relationship quickly turns into something more complicated, and real. I really enjoyed getting to know Luke a bit better. He is truly a sweet gentleman and makes sure to make Meg comfortable in some of the most awkward situations. I mean, he is the one who was blackmailing her, but he still tried to make her have fun and comfortable. I would have liked to see Luke play baseball though. The entire book we are told how he is the star pitcher and he loves baseball, but yet we never really get to see him play. If you count that little time he played with Meg at the batting cages, but I don’t, I wanted to see him in action! Meg, on the other hand, was a bit slower to get used to. At the start I found her extremely unlikable. She was stubborn and rude to Luke even while it was unnecessary. However, once she began to let her walls fall down, I really enjoyed seeing her and Luke grow closer together. I was screaming at her for so long to just TELL LUKE WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH HER FAMILY ever since he opened up to her, but alas…she was a bit slower (haha sigh). Overall, this book was cute and the perfect cheesy YA romance I was looking for.
BookishKhaleesi More than 1 year ago
THE RULES OF PERSUASION is a quick, summer read that has a great dose of adorable mixed with just the right amount of family drama. It’s never overwhelming, but just enough to make you interested what’s going to happen to our two main characters. Plus my favorite type of YA Romance stories: fake relationships turned real The book centers on Meg and Luke. After a tragedy struck Meg’s family, Meg looks for release in a dangerous way, spray painting a mural on buildings. One night, she gets caught by the star pitcher of the baseball team, Luke Prescott. Luke strikes a deal with her –pretend to be his girlfriend and his lips are sealed. What happens next is truly an entertaining read. We follow Meg and Luke as they find out their perceptions of each other were way off and their what they thought was fake relationship quickly turns into something more complicated, and real. I really enjoyed getting to know Luke a bit better. He is truly a sweet gentleman and makes sure to make Meg comfortable in some of the most awkward situations. I mean, he is the one who was blackmailing her, but he still tried to make her have fun and comfortable. I would have liked to see Luke play baseball though. The entire book we are told how he is the star pitcher and he loves baseball, but yet we never really get to see him play. If you count that little time he played with Meg at the batting cages, but I don’t, I wanted to see him in action! Meg, on the other hand, was a bit slower to get used to. At the start I found her extremely unlikable. She was stubborn and rude to Luke even while it was unnecessary. However, once she began to let her walls fall down, I really enjoyed seeing her and Luke grow closer together. I was screaming at her for so long to just TELL LUKE WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH HER FAMILY ever since he opened up to her, but alas…she was a bit slower (haha sigh). Overall, this book was cute and the perfect cheesy YA romance I was looking for.
Lauren817 More than 1 year ago
I've been dying to read The Rules of Persuasion ever since I first heard about it! Late-night graffiti sessions, a fauxmance, and flirty baseball lessons? It sounded like the exact recipe for a perfect romance read! Luckily, The Rules of Persuasion was everything I hoped it would be and much, much more. Meg Matthews knows she shouldn't have been tagging her high school that fateful night. It was risky and slightly careless, but she couldn't resist giving her sister such a public tribute. At first, it was going well - no one sees her - and then Luke Prescott showed up. Luke Prescott -"the spoiled rich kid" as Meg refers to him as - is the from one of the richest families in their small town. Arrogant and used to getting what he wants, Luke is someone who Meg has always managed to avoid...but that's not the case anymore. Offering her an ultimatum - either he turns her in or she pretends to be his fake girlfriend - Meg is left with no choice other than to be Luke's girlfriend. Now with a set of "Rules of Persuasion," Meg and Luke set out to fool everyone....but is there a tingle of real behind those explosive kisses? Fauxmances are nothing new in YA literature, but I still love them just the same. They leave so much room open for potential romance, squabbling, and whole lot of awkward yet funny moments. What makes it even better in the case of The Rules of Persuasion is that Amity Hope does such a fantastic job of of developing Meg and Luke's fake romance turned real. It's chaotic and slightly messy. It has increasing and well placed tingles of real romance. More importantly, it opened up so much funny banter as well as hilarious disagreements - really the two things I live for in romantic comedy type reads. When Meg and Luke are first introduced it's hard to imagine they'll ever find common ground. Meg is determined, mostly fearless, and always quick to speak the truth. Her situation with her family was heartbreaking yet incredibly realistic. I particularly liked how while Amity offered up some hard topics with that, she still managed to give the perfect ratio of the tough topics as well as the light. At first glance, Luke seems like the stereotypical golden boy; however, there's a lot more to him than meets the eye. I loved how dedicated he was to giving back to the community, especially kids at risk, as well as the fact that he strived to be better than his father, even if it meant risking an easier future. Making Luke even better was how charming he was. Sure, he could be a grad-A jerk sometimes, but the moments where he truly left his charmer come out, I was full force swooning! I loved the way he was with Meg, especially towards the end. Basically, if you love books about fake relationships containing very real kisses, late night graffiti sessions, and charming banter, The Rules of Persuasion is for you! But word of warning: you'll be swooning all the way through! Grade: A+