Forever New Adult: Courtney Cole's If You Leave

New Adult is one of the fastest growing genres in fiction and for good reason. Filled with late teen/early 20s angst and all of the drama that goes into becoming an adult, these books give a gritty inside look at love, loss and moving on. This week we're bringing you five of the hottest New Adult books from Forever Romance. We asked the authors to tell us about their latest title and share which characters and specific scenes are most personal to them. Today we bring you Courtney Cole's If You Leave, the story of an ex-Army Ranger burdened by PTSD and a young woman with family troubles who find comfort in each other. 

Tell us a little about If You Leave.

If You Leave is the second book in the Beautifully Broken series. It will follow a bad-ass hero (former Army Ranger) Gabriel Vincent and Madison Hill, Mila Hill’s sister. She’s a hard-edged woman with some issues who doesn’t think she needs anyone and he’s a cocky guy with demons. They might seem really different, but they’re more alike than they even know. I loved writing their story.

Which scene from the story is closest to your heart?

I felt a close connection to Madison. I’m also an older sister, like her, and so I feel like she and I have a lot in common. I’m bull-headed, I think I’m right a lot, and I always feel a responsibility to offer advice to my sisters, whether they ask for it or not. Haha.  And like Madison, I’ve lost a parent.

Knowing how it feels to lose one parent, I can’t imagine how it must feel to lose both of them in one fell swoop. So, then, in a scene in IF YOU LEAVE, when Maddy is faced with the terrifying situation where she might lose her sister, too… I couldn’t help but feel her pain, just like it was my own. In fact, I ended up changing the scene. I originally wrote it from Madison’s POV, but it was so highly emotional, that I changed it so that we saw it through Gabe’s eyes instead. He was able to see it frame by frame, as it happened, giving the reader an accurate portrayal of what was happening. Maddy was so blinded by emotion that it just wouldn’t have been helpful for the reader.

Here’s a glimpse … from Gabe’s POV .The scene opens as Gabe drives Pax, Mila and Madison to the hospital. Keep in mind, this is a never before seen excerpt. 

“She’s not breathing,” Pax suddenly blurts, dropping his ear down to listen at her mouth. “She’s not breathing. Jesus Christ.”

Maddy scrambles to try and help from behind us, to try and see, just as I pull into the parking lot. Before I’ve even come to a stop at the curb, Pax has the door open and is laying Mila out on the sidewalk.

“Breathe, baby,” he begs as he kneels and gives her a breath. “Breathe.”

He’s frantic and desperate and covered in Mila’s blood.

“Pax,” Maddy cries, pulling at his arm. “We’ve got to get her inside. We don’t have time for this.”

She pulls at him, but Pax isn’t thinking clearly and he shakes her off, turning back to Mila, trying to breathe into her mouth.

He’s interrupted by a team of people bursting through the doors with a gurney. Pax lunges up with Mila in his arms and thrusts her at the medical team.

“She’s not breathing,” he tells them in desperation. “Please—help her.”

The doctors and nurses close in around Mila as they lay her out on the gurney and rush her inside.

As they do, Maddy clings helplessly to the side of the stretcher . Looking down, I see that Mila’s eyes are still closed and she is as pale as I’ve ever seen anyone. More terrifying than that, though, are the words coming out of the nurses’ mouths.

She’s unresponsive.

There’s no pulse.

We need the paddles.

Maddy flinches as she hears them, tears running down her cheeks.

“It’s going to be alright,”Maddy tells her sister as the team shoves the gurney through the double doors and out of our sight. “Mila, you’re going to be alright.”

“Mila, I’m here!” Pax calls after her, when a nurse blocks his way. But Mila stays motionless. She couldn’t hear any of it.

Fuckkkkkk.

I’ve never felt so helpless as when I watch them take her away. I know there’s nothing I can do and from the looks of all that blood staining the sheets covering her, I’m not sure that there’s anything that anyone can do. There’s no way she’s not going to die.

There’s so much blood.

Can you elaborate on how this scene ties into your own past?

I don’t want to get all heavy on you, but this scene is directly tied to me because my dad died very suddenly. I know what it feels to rush to the hospital and wait for news.

Also, the reason that Mila is in such a predicament, a reason you’ll have to read about in the book, is something very personal to me, as well. I was in the same exact situation as she is. So when you read the book, you can rest assured that the details are accurate, because I pulled them straight from my own life.

One of the reasons I wanted to write the Beautifully Broken series is because I believe that everyone is broken in some way, big or small, by things that life has thrown at them.

There are two unarguable truths about life … people are born and people die. However, it’s the things that can happen in between that make a story. Medical emergencies, accidents, divorce, break-ups, infidelity, drug use, marriage, babies, etc. etc.

Such things, both happy and tragic, really happen, so readers can relate. I don’t see the need to pussy-foot around issues that are very true to life. I try very hard to write things in a ‘real’ way, in a way that readers can say, “Yeah, I’ve totally been there.”  

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Can you realte to Courtney and Madison? Let us know in the comments. And make sure to pick up a copy of If You Leave, available August 6. And visit the RT Daily Blog all week for more from Forever's New Adult authors.