Break Me by Harper James : Spotlight, Fun Facts, Excerpt, Author Interview, Teasers & Giveaway

Break Me
By Harper James

Release Date: June 10 2014
Photography & Cover Designer: Emily & Daniel

Gemma Andrews doesn’t trust men.

She’s been left with a bitter taste in her mouth after her father left her mother while she was still pregnant, for another woman, and started a whole new perfect family. Gemma doesn’t feel like she belongs with her father’s family—with her family—and has done everything she can to push them all away. 

One summer, her last summer stuck with these people, is about to change all of that.

Abe North, the hunky night guard she meets by chance, breaks down Gemma’s carefully built cinderblock walls, and shows her what she’s been missing out on. He helps her to reconnect with the brother and sister she has kept at a safe distance all these years. In the end, maybe, just maybe, Abe can show Gemma that all men aren’t bad and that he’ll be the one who’ll be there for her.

But is Gemma ready to accept love?

Or is she too broken?


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Hours later Gemma made her way down the beach and kept her eyes peeled for Abe. He was supposed to be waiting for her just down the road from her house but he hadn’t been there. They had been apart for two hours and she already ached for him. She knew it was only going to get worse as they took things to the next level and she couldn’t make herself care. Slightly annoyed that he still wasn’t in sight she kicked a rock as she rounded the corner that brought her to the first entrance to the public beach. As she closed the gate behind herself she turned and her eyes rounded in surprise. “Abe,” she took a few steps closer so they could hear each other better, “what is this?”

He smiled as he walked up to meet her, “I remember you saying that if it was possible to sleep in a hammock out here you would.”

She quickly took the last couple of steps that separated them and jumped, wrapping her arms around his neck. “It’s perfect. You are so damn perfect.” She smiled as he wrapped one arm around her waist and pulled her knees up with the other, carrying her to the hammock.

“As you’ve seen the past couple nights we have about two hours before they show up at the bakery. We won’t do anything you don’t want to do. We won’t go any further than you want to go. But, Gemma, I’m begging you, please just let me kiss you a little more tonight.” He lowered her on to the hammock and then eased himself up beside her. They rolled toward the middle, facing one another.

“How can I tell you to stop when you haven’t started?”

“Good point,” he placed his hand on her thigh and started working it up her leg. She immediately reached down and stopped his progress.

“I’m sorry.” She winced as he quickly pulled back.

“Stop,” he whispered as he pulled her chin up so she would look into his eyes. “Don’t apologize.”

“But I acted all tough and then you touch me and-“

“And I should have known better than to push it so far so soon.” He rolled so he was back on his side and pulled her head onto his chest. “I will do anything for you, Gem. And that includes taking our time so I can prove to you that I’m in this thing.”

“And what if that means you are waiting on me until our wedding night?” It dawned on her what she had said and she considered rolling out of the hammock and running for it until he spoke.

“One, just the fact that you can think of us and wedding day shows how much you are already starting to trust me. Two, if that’s the case then I take my wife to bed and discover her like millions of men have done before me.” He gently kissed the top of her head and the word swoon flashed through her mind. “You, Gemma Andrews, are worth the wait.”



Author Interview


Hi Harper, 

Thank you so much for sitting down with Toot's for an interview. If you don't mind, I have some questions for you about your new book, Break Me and your process for our budding authors as well as fans.

So first off, Break Me Questions.......

In your own words, what is Break Me about?

Break Me is about a girl that is a victim of her circumstances. It is in no way tragic, but Gemma has grown up the daughter of a woman jaded by love. Her mother was abandoned when she was a few months pregnant and her father left to pick back up with his high school sweetheart. From day one he has been the bad guy and love a foolish endeavor that will end in heartbreak.

This is the story of a girl that has to grow up, shed her mother’s opinions, stand firm in her hearts desires, and most importantly, figure out a way to trust if she really wants to find a happily ever after. Gemma’s road isn’t easy. Individuals conspire to keep her from her first shot at real love. She is embarking on he last summer with her father’s family when the story begins so there is also a part of her that wants to bury her head in the sand in miss out on the two months ahead.

How did you come up with the title of the book and can you tell us its significance?

This is terrible. I didn’t come up with this title. My good friend, Micalea Smeltzer was listening to me whine about how hard it was to choose and everything sounded cheesy. She suggested Break Me and, after edits, I saw just how perfect that title really was for the story.

Is Break Me a standalone book or will it be part of a series?

Both. It is a part of a series but each novel can be read as a standalone. The three siblings will have their own story to tell. I’m actually in the middle of writing book two now.

What genre would you say Break Me is and what sets your book apart for fans of the genre?

I would say that Break Me falls into New Adult based on age and life situations. I think one of the things that sets it apart is that it has a ‘coming-of-age’ feel more typically found in Young Adult than New Adult.

Gemma is still figuring men out. She is figuring herself out. She has basically walked through life as her mother’s puppet and over the course of her summer and then freshman year in college, she matures into a woman.

What was your favorite scene to write in Break Me?

The first kiss. Every book has a few scenes for me that I have written before the book is fully conceptualized. Typically it’s the meet cute, the first kiss and the happily ever after. For this book, the first kiss and a final scene near a camp fire were screaming at me to get out long before I even had the character names or lives figured out. These two scenes personify the desperate love Abe and Gemma find in each other. I adored these characters and watching them fall head over heels.

What was the hardest scene to write for Break Me?

Breaking your own characters hearts, whether it’s for one paragraph or an entire book, is always awful.
If you’re really invested, you feel it with them. It’s you screaming out in pain an defense and it’s awful.

There is a scene I refuse to even give a teaser of that messed me up. It was one of those moments where as my fingers began the first paragraph I was yelling at myself to stop. “No, Harper, NO! anything but that!” Alas, I didn’t listen and the story is better for it.

What is your favorite line or quote from Break Me?

This is really random since it has absolutely nothing to do with the love story but there is a conversation that takes place between Gemma (Gem) and her father that does some serious work in healing an eighteen year long rift where he says, “I love you, my precious jewel.” After this Gemma makes an AWESOME discovery about her father that gives me the happy feels. It peels back a massive layer of hurt for these two, and I love it.


Do you recall how your interest in writing originated and what made you decide to pursue it as a career?

I was never very interested in reading or writing growing up. I was very active so when I wasn’t playing whatever sport was in season, I was busy watching TV like a typical adolescent. Thankfully, as a senior in college, I was bitten by the Young Adult Fiction bug that seems to still be going around. I became obsessed with reading and quite frankly, my final semester of college my grades were a joke thanks to books like The Hunger Games, Mortal Instruments, every book by John Green, etc. Eventually I discovered the writing challenge, NaNoWriMo, and decided it was worth a shot. I had a feeling I could do it and, not only could I, but I absolutely loved it.

What inspires you to put the pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard?

I get inspiration from music, but only in concepts. I am not able to write to music. I get distracted too easily. I also just have that kind of mind. I have always been one to make up stories in my head or change how a book or movie ends to what I think would be better as I lay in bed after completing it. Sometimes I pull from personal stories. For example, there is a little bit of my husband in every male character that I like. It may be in description, a personality trait, a skill, or even a line. He’s inspirational . . . and hot, what can I say?

Are you a Plotter or a Panster?

I’m a weird hybrid. I am a plotter because I do need a concept. I typically start a book knowing how the characters meet, between one and three pivotal scene mid-way, and how I want the book to end. I have a vague outline that I never stick to and certain criteria that I know I need to see.

I am a Panster, however, because I usually have no idea how I’m going to get from the three thousand words I’m going into the story with to the over sixty thousand I aim to have in the end. I also never write my synopsis until completion of a book.

Have you released anything under a different pen name, and if so, is there any difference between them?


What's next for you?

Up next is the second standalone in my Mature Young Adult series. This book is called Live for Her and I’m so excited to hopefully appease those that didn’t like the way book one, Fight for Her ended. Love triangles are tricky. I’m finding you discover a lot about a person based on who they want to ‘win’ the love triangle.

Is there anything you’d like to add or say to your fans?

Just a big fat THANK YOU! I had this dream and desire and was sure it would be like the one I had at age 10 to play in the NBA. The fact that this is actually coming true. That I can now point to two books on Amazon and say, ‘I did that’, is beyond anything I could have asked for. Thank you for coming along and giving my stories a chance.

Personal questions......

Now I know this is like asking you to choose between your own children, but out of all your amazing characters, who is your favorite and why?

I’m really starting to fall in love with Hope. She is a side character in Fight for Her but she is the primary focus of the third book in the For Her series and she has some serious issues. I feel like I will grow with her. She’s feisty, makes terrible choices, and is in desperate need of the perfect guy to come along. I can’t wait to slowly break down her walls and open her heart.

I also have a desperate crush on Nate. He is passionate, loves with everything he has, and fights like there’s no tomorrow. Plus, he’s freaking hot.

Are there any of your stories or characters that hold a special place in your heart?

They all do. It’s seriously as if they’re my children. They are these elaborate scene inspired by something as small as a lyric in a song. It’s crazy and exhilarating. I love them.

I do have a soft spot for the character Emily in Break Me. I know where her story is going and it’s a rough and scary road. Love and life can be hard at times. It’s not always perfection and some mellow drama.

It’s legitimate life. Emily is about to have to endure that. Some of her trials I’m familiar with, that makes it personal and makes me want to nail it that much more.

If the book had to have a theme song, what would it be?

I used the song, Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran to get my thoughts together for a couple scenes so I think that’s probably the best assessment of journey Gemma has to take.

Lastly, What 5 things do fans not know about you and 5 they don't know about the book?

My 5:

1. I get way too emotionally attached to celebrity couples. If Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield break up you may as well send me chocolate.

2. I made a B in the only writing class I took in college and I’m pretty sure that was out of pity. I deserved worse.

3. Coffee with sugar is gross BUT coffee with a sweet creamer is my favorite.

4. There is this card game called Mafia and the entire point is to lie about your character. My husband lied to me while playing this game and I didn’t speak to him for the rest of the night and until about noon the next day.

5. I’m the most awkward individual ever. Unless I’m all alone. Then I’m crazy smooth. I just pray that someday, someone will see it.

Break Me 5:

1. I based Hank, the hotdog truck guy, off of my grandpa. He’s one of my favorite character’s ever just because of that.

2. Gray, the youngest of the siblings, was originally twelve but I wanted him to have a love story so I aged him and now I’m so freaking glad I did. Trust me. His is a doozie.

3. Gemma has body image issues and I made this a point because I wanted those to be resolved of her own accord, not some statement by Abe. She needed to know she was beautiful with or without his praise and all by her own hard work.

4. This book has some serious depth and personal growth themes. It is so much more than a guy and girl rolling around on the beach for the summer.

5. I feel like it’s a book that is realistic enough for the reader to connect to the characters but fictional enough that the reader will enjoy the quick and easy read.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for taking time to answer some questions. Congratulations on the new book and I can't wait for everyone to read it!

All our best – Toot’s Book Reviews

About the Author


Harper James currently lives in Louisiana. When she isn’t admiring her husband, the rock star, or playing with her baby boy and girl, the two cutest kids ever made, she can be found either reading or writing one of the many books she has floating around in her head. She has an unhealthy addiction to all things romance and will always fight for a happy ending.

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