Monday, November 9, 2015

Blitz & Giveaway:Paper Dolls by Ketley Allison (Falling Paper, #1)

Paper Dolls
Ketley Allison
(Falling Paper, #1)
Publication date: November 12th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

It’s too bad for Scarlet that no matter how sweet a person is, fate can still screw you over.
Now she’s jaded, half of her torn away and the remainder flesh and bones. In her grief, all Scarlet wants to do is to rebel against the life that betrayed her and her roommate provides the perfect lure…
Scarlet awakens when she enters the New York City underground, where vice and fortunes thrive. Hustling, trickery and savagery allow her to discover her true self—-her forgotten soul reemerging. She just can’t promise it’ll come back pure.
It won’t matter that there is a shadow in her periphery. Theo Saxon thinks he can save Scarlet from a world she craves and protect her from the very elements he’s spawned from. But it’s through his unwitting instruction that Scarlet will become a part of his league and find the danger he wants so badly to keep to himself.
Scarlet thinks the stakes are within her control. But she won’t just be betting her heart on Theo and his seductive sins. She will wager her life.

Something was going to come out of the shadows and shank me.
I clung to the wrought iron fence, staying put despite Verily’s tugs on my arm. Our vulnerable bodies could be seen in every direction on the deserted street. Cars lined the road, but they stood silent, their windows shining onyx pits. Columns of brownstone buildings, bricked into two long, looming lines on either side, blocked the moon. Their rows of windows were as black as the cars below.
Blares of horns ricocheted through our residential street, but their echoes were faint. All signs of life were too far away to save me.
But I agreed to this. I wanted this.
“Relax, Scarlet. I promise it’s safe,” Verily said to me.
Maybe no knife was needed. All the monsters in the dark had to do was bend me over this waist-high fence and spear my abdomen with one of the fleur-de-lis arrowheads, the skirt of my naughty maid’s uniform flouncing in the wind and ruffling around my ass, drawing the eye of anyone who lingered.
And come on, everyone would linger.
A form pushed past us and I tensed, choking on the scream that wanted to rip out of my throat.
The cause of my stroke, a man, paused in his descension into Hell—I mean, at the second step leading down to the entrance of a brownstone. “Hey, Vare. New girl?”
Verily dug her fingers into my arm, since I clearly wasn’t prying my death grip off the fence. “Yep. She’s cute, right?”
He didn’t respond.
I was pretty sure I was gaping at him. Not because of his looks—I couldn’t see him in the surrounding darkness, just an edging of hair and a framing of shoulders. It was more because I couldn’t stop thinking about the newspapers headlining my DEATH BY FENCE AND FETISH! IMPISH MAID CLEANS OUT HER OWN INSIDES!
And it was probably written all over my face.
“She up to it?” he asked.
Verily smacked my shoulder. The fence rattled underneath my grip. “Wait’ll you see her in action.”
One of his shoulders lifted up in a shrug. I found myself wanting to hear his voice again, soft like velvet lined his throat.
He didn’t disappoint. “No reason to be scared.”
“That’s what I keep telling her,” Verily said. She wrapped a hand around my bicep and heaved. She was trying to wrench me free. Damn if I would let her. “I’m extremely convincing,” she said through her teeth.
He stood with fluidity, a primal ease. He shifted, lifting his chin in a way that accentuated his angular jawline but not much else.
“Anyone gives you trouble, you let me know. They may like dressing you up, but we don’t tolerate any more than that,” he said.
“Okay,” I replied. Finally.
He sounded so adamant and sure. I wondered if all it took in my life was for a man to sound like Batman.
He nodded once before descending the rest of the way. His walk was exactly as I knew it would be. Like a lion pacing the edges of his cage.
“Is he the bouncer?” I whispered into the curled crimson tendrils around Verily’s ear.
“Nope,” she said. After one particularly unfair yank, she pried one of my hands off the iron. “But if he’s here, it means we’re late, so come. On.”
“Ow! Verily!” Another twist and pull and she had my other arm, using my sudden imbalance to drag me down the stairs. “Seriously! Ow!”
She stopped at the door and pressed a hand to my chest, my boobs so hiked up they caressed the bottom of her palm. “Rules. Tell me.”
“W—” I gripped her extended arm for balance. “What’s our safe word? I mean my safe word, to let you know when I’ve gone Code Red.”
Sighing, she dropped her arm. “Have I dragged you here against your will?”
I pouted. “No.”
“Do you need the money?”
“Would I bring you somewhere unsafe?”
I glanced down at my misbehaving maid outfit, then back up at the entrance where a lithe, vulturine and kind of scary man just decided to stop in and hang out for a while.
I countered with, “Do you possess a danger meter I’m not aware of? A point at which you know we must escape?”
She shook her head. “Honestly, Scar.”
“Because I think you’re on the fritz.”
“You said you needed something,” she said, softer now. “Something to make you feel like you could live again.”
I swallowed. “You told me you were just a waitress.”
“You’re falling, Scarlet. I can’t watch it anymore. And so, I’m giving you this.”
A shuffling sound came from drums of trash behind her. Noises sounding suspiciously like a critter. “You think I need saving and you brought me to a rat-hole?”
“I don’t think you need to be rescued,” she said. “I think you need an awakening.”
That could’ve been a warning or a promise. She went on. “I know you. And I think this is what you need. But you have to promise, promise, not to tell anyone.”
I needed excitement, yes. A pounding pulse, a taste of uncertainty, a reason. I needed life.
But this. Here we were, standing on a dirty side street in the Lower East Side, dressed like a rich man’s blow up doll.
“I don’t…” I said.
“Do you trust me?”
Verily’s green eyes, illuminated by the weak golden light, seemed to shine. She stopped my fidgeting hands by pulling them closer to her.
“Yes,” I answered. Of course. She was the one thing that kept me in the present.
“Good. So trust that this will be fine. And God forbid, that maybe you’ll have fun.”
Grumbling, I said, “Yesterday you were all over me about professional responsibility, and now here we are…”
Instead of responding, she propelled me forward with another mutant-strength twist of her toothpick arms. Verily opened the front door and I toddled after her, mumbling threats involving her hair bleach.
She halted at a second door, arching a brow at me. “Just be thankful I’m not inducting you on lingerie night,” she said, and hip-bumped it open.
After one last pull, I stumbled into my new society of smoke, money and men.

Author Bio:
Ketley Allison began her creative career by writing books as birthday presents for her friends (with her friend as the main character and opposite a super sexy lead, of course) before ending it in order to walk down a path she thought she was supposed to follow.
The writing bug never left her—and, in fact, would often bleed into the official papers she was supposed to write—so now Ketley’s putting down her suit and finally following her dream. While her friends are no longer the stars of her books, she still throws in bits and pieces of them into each and every one of her characters.
As a result, her books tend to focus a lot on friendships as well as love, because let’s be honest, friends are what really get you through—especially when your epic love turns into epic heartbreak.

Hosted by:

Friday, November 6, 2015

Interview: Author Ingrid Seymour

Ingrid Seymour is the author of Ignite The Shadows (Harper Voyager, April 23, 2015). When she’s not writing books, she spends her time working as a software engineer, cooking exotic recipes, hanging out with her family and working out. She writes young adult and new adult fiction in a variety of genres, including Sci-Fi, urban fantasy, romance, paranormal and horror.

Her favorite outings involve a trip to the library or bookstore where she immediately gravitates toward the YA section. She’s an avid reader and fangirl of many amazing books. She is a dreamer and a fighter who believes perseverance and hard work can make dreams come true.

She lives in Birmingham, AL with her husband, two kids and a cat named Mimi.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

What are three words that best describe you?
Determined. Passionate. Opinionated :)

What book are you reading now?
Currently I am reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater and Endless Knight by Kresley Cole. Both series are amazing, especially the first. YA at its best, though I would argue that the latter is actually more New Adult due to some mature content.

What books have most influenced your life? 
The Harry Potter series got me interested in YA. It inspired me and made me think: “I could write this stuff and I would really enjoy doing it.” But the book that really got me motivated and gave me the advice I needed to get moving and actually finish a book was “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King. I recommend it to any aspiring author.

Favorite quote from your book or one of you've read and loved?
My series The Morphid Chronicles deals with teens who go through a metamorphosis and, in the process, lose their free will. There are some philosophical discussions around the topic and all the characters have a different perspective on free will. I like this quote, which is from the protagonist Greg Papilio:
“Free will will tore his heart in will was a lie.”

What’s more fun to write – the world or the characters?
This is hard for me to answer, since I enjoy both very much. But forced to pick, I would say the characters. Stories are about people. As a reader, I can’t truly enjoy a book if I don’t connect with its characters at some level—no matter how beautifully drawn the world around them. So I have a lot fun getting to know my characters and fleshing them out. 

Has a character ever taken over a story you were writing? or done anything that surprised you?
This is a resounding YES! It happens to me often, but the worst (best, really) was Marci Guerrero from my YA Sci-Fi IGNITE THE SHADOWS. She is a very strong girl, both mentally and physically. She is self-sufficient and fiercely independent. Half the time I would say go right and she’d go left. The most interesting occasion was when she decided to intervene and save one of the characters. I had to rewrite some stuff around the setting to let her do that, ‘cause she wasn’t taking “no” for an answer :)

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like spending time with my family. I have a loving husband and two precocious kids that keep me on my toes and fill my life with joy. I also love reading and do a Goodreads challenge every year (find me there? ;) I love watching book-to-movie adaptations and working out—if there is time and energy.

Are there any new projects in the works?
Yes! Writing is a year-‘round affair for me. I love doing it, so I’m always working on something. At the moment, I’m working on the final touches of RIPPER, book 2 of The Morphid Chronicles. Also I’m plotting a novella for the IGNITE THE SHADOWS’ world that I plan to complete during NaNoWriMo. I’m also waiting on editorial notes from my editor for ECLIPSE THE FLAME. Very exciting times for me!

What is the question that you wish interviewers would ask, and the answer to that question? 
How did you come up with the idea for IGNITE THE SHADOWS?
Ignite the Shadows began as a short story. The idea for the it occurred to me as someone I know was going through a battery of in vitro fertilization treatments. My crazy brain started wondering: “What if the embryos belong to alien creatures or are infected with something?” I wrote the short story from the point of view of the mother. IGNITE THE SHADOWS is written from the perspective of the resulting child after the treatment. It’s kind of creepy, really. But loads of fun. 

About Ignite The Shadows 
All her life, Marci Guerrero has kept a secret. Her mind is ravaged by shadows that cloak her thoughts and override her. They induce outrageous behavior that humiliates her mother and have Xave, the boy she likes, convinced she’s a stunt-addicted brat. To cope, she Karate-kicks in a dojo every day, while at night she earns her reputation as the best teen hacker in Seattle.

Still, Marci is restless, always getting into trouble as she looks for release from the tormenting shadows inside her head. During one of her stunts, she lands in the path of tenacious James McCray, the leader of a clandestine group known as IgNiTe. His presence stirs Marci’s brain into a maddening frenzy. Her symptoms and ability to control them don’t go unnoticed by James, who soon recruits her and reveals the awful truth . . .

A large number of the world’s population is infected by sentient parasites. They bind to the human brain and rewire the pathways for all thoughts and actions. Once there, the creatures morph their hosts into grotesque monsters with extraordinary strengths. Winged, clawed, fanged half-humans become living nightmares. Worst of all, the creatures plan to infect all humans in a vicious attempt to take over the world.

Soon Marci wishes she was crazy, because the truth is worse. It turns out she’s one of them. She’s infected.

Determined to stop this evil race, Marci fights alongside IgNiTe and others who, like her, can resist the infection. She battles for the world, herself, and to keep the truth from Xave. He must never learn she’s a monster.

Ingrid will be at the Tuscaloosa Public Library on November 14, 2015 for the Yomucon: Cosplay at the Library Convention.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


Death Becomes Me
(Call Me Grim #2)
by Elizabeth Holloway
Publication Date:  November 2015
Genre:  YA, Paranormal

Libbi and Aaron are Grim Reapers on the run. They may have escaped their hometown of Carroll Falls unscathed, and are together and alive (well, more or less), but they’ll soon find there’s a price to pay. A deadly one.

By escaping Carroll Falls, Libbi and Aaron have broken the Reaper’s covenant with Abaddon, aka Death himself – and now they’re right at the top of Abaddon’s Most Wanted list. There’s nowhere to hide, and not a single person, alive or dead, they can turn to for help.

But just as it's looking like the end of the line, Libbi hears word of a Reaper in hiding – a Reaper who once escaped Abaddon's wrath. Finding this mysterious Reaper might be the perfect solution… if Death doesn’t find them first.

A Little Horror

“She’s in the house,” I say.

“I know.” He snatches his shoes from my hands and shoves his sockless feet into them. “We’ve got to get out of here.”

“How? She’s downstairs. We’ll run right into her.”

He glances at the wall behind him and shakes his head. Nope. Can’t get out that way.  He turns back around and points straight at the wall of junk that blocks the expansive attic.

“We run through all of that,” he says. “And when we get outside, we fly.”

As huge as the attic is, it looks like a postage stamp when I think of using it as a runway. Plus, I have to run through all of that stuff? I really wish I had more time to practice the Reaper powers before we left Carroll Falls. It would have been useful.

“That’s not enough of a head start for me, Aaron,” I say. “Still a novice, here.”

The attic door squeaks. A solid thump on the bottom step.

“No time for a better plan.” He seizes my hand. “Whatever happens, don’t let her touch you. Got it?”
I nod once.

And we run. Back the way we came. Straight through the wardrobe with the broken door. Through the leaning towers of boxes and mountains of clothes and papers and trash. Toward Bobby’s bedroom.
The attic stairs appear in the middle of the rubbish. We have to pass them if we want enough speed to fly when we reach the wall at the other end of the house.

An ashen hand slaps down on the railing at the top of the staircase. Annalise’s greasy, dark head pops up above the railing. Her head rotates. The skin on her neck cracks and greenish-yellow fluid leaks from the wound. Her eyes find us.

I was right. There are no eyes there. Just inky-black orbs.

“What are you doing?” The voice that oozes from her throat is deep, cold, menacing. But there’s no mistaking the surprise in it. “You don’t belong here.”

Oily tendrils of blackness unfurl from the little girl’s shadow like tentacles. They spill over the railing and crawl across the floor in front of us. The coppery scent of decomposition fills the space. Whoever she used to be, she’s a corpse now. A reanimated, rotting corpse. Mothballs suddenly don’t smell so bad.

“Jump.” Aaron says and I do. We sail over whatever it is that seeps from her shadow as we sprint past her.

Annalise reaches for my arm. I jerk my elbow across my body before she touches me and the breeze from her fingertips grazes my skin.

It was just the wind that touched me, I’m sure, but for a moment my vision blurs. A flash of light replaces the junk-filled attic, then pale, twisted, writhing bodies. Blood. Broken bones. Pain. So much pain. And fear.

Just as quickly as it came, the vision disappears. I almost lose my breakfast on the floor, but I somehow manage to keep running. We barrel through another mountain of junk—more furniture and boxes—and into Bobby’s bedroom.

Link to Goodreads:

Purchase Links:
Amazon | B&N  

The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi Pancake—and it would have, too, if Aaron hadn't shown up and saved her life. The problem? Aaron's the local Grim Reaper . . . and he only saved Libbi's life because he needs someone to take over his job. Now, Libbi has two days to choose between dying like she was supposed to, or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. Talk about a rock and a hard place. And the choice goes from hard to sucktastic when her best friend shows up marked: condemned as a future murderer. Libbi could have an extra week to stop the murder and fix the mark . . . but only if she accepts Aaron's job as Reaper, trapping herself in her crappy town forever, invisible and inaudible to everyone except the newly dead. But, if she refuses? Her best friend is headed straight for Hell.

Elizabeth Holloway is a writer of young adult fiction living in Southern Pennsylvania with her two teen children and their growing number of pets. 

In addition to writing, she is a registered nurse, an avid reader, an out-of-practice artist, a karaoke singer, and music lover. She is still trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up.Connect with the Author: 
 Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

Giveaway :  Contest ends November 27, 2015
One (1) winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card and a digital copy of  Death Becomes Me by Elizabeth Holloway  (INT)
Four (4) winners will receive a digital copy of Death Becomes Me by Elizabeth Holloway (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Scavenger Hunt: Kiss Kill Love Him Still by Jamie Blair & Dawn Rae Miller

Kiss Kill Love Him Still
by Jamie Blair & Dawn Rae Miller
Release Date: November 10th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Jackson Landis kept secrets. It's how he got girls into bed, the grades he wanted, and a reputation for being the life of the party.

But now he's dead, and no one knows how or why. Especially not the four girls whose secrets he protected. Secrets so scandalous they could cause each girl to lose something valuable. Secrets so dark, someone may have killed for them.

The four girls - a campus drug dealer, an overweight bookworm, a closeted lesbian, and a spoiled princess have one thing in common – they’re terrified the things Jackson knew may not have died with him. As Reggie, Haddie, Val, and Livie try to piece together her own role in Jackson’s death, each girl realizes Jackson had some not-so-pretty skeletons of his own.

Which makes a girl wonder, who really wanted Jackson Landis dead?


We're trying to discover who killed Jason Landis in Jamie Blair and Dawn Rae Miller's book. In the 7 days that the tour will be running, you will find interviews with the suspects, their profiles and music playlists that will help you decide who you think did it.

Each day you will find a team that will introduce you one character. The winner team will be picked on November 11th and will have the pleasure to host an exclusive excerpt from Kiss Kill Love Him Still.

Please note that reviews from bloggers will be published on November 11th and November 12th, see schedule, and that might give you an extra insight to the book, too!

Height: 5’2”

Weight: 115 lbs

Hair: Shoulder length blonde.

Eyes: Hazel

Demeanor: Defensive. Very business-like.

Motivation for killing Jackson Landis: He was cheating on her daughter.

Alicia: Has something happened to Livie?

Officer Ruiz: Livie is fine as far as I know.

Alicia: Then why am I here?

Officer Ruiz: I need to ask you a few questions about Jackson Landis’s death.

Alicia: I can’t imagine why you needed to see me. I’ve known Jackson his whole life, but that, apparently, doesn’t mean I knew him at all. 

Officer Ruiz: Why were you in town the night Jackson died?

Alicia: I flew in early to spend time with my daughter before Parents’ Day.

Officer Ruiz: Were you aware that Jackson was unfaithful?

Alicia: I had suspicions.

Officer Ruiz: Did you ever confront him? Ask him if you suspicions were true?

Alicia: No, of course not. Why would I insert myself into the lives of college students?

Officer Ruiz: Are you and Livie close?

Alicia: Yes. She’s my only child. I would do anything for her.

Officer Ruiz: Like kill her cheating boyfriend?

Alicia: I didn’t say that.

Officer Ruiz: You didn’t have to.


This is what the authors propose:

Follow the Kiss Kill Love Him Still by Jamie Blair & Dawn Rae Miller Scavenger Hunt Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Young adult author of the Kirkus-starred novel Leap Of Faith (Simon & Schuster 2013), and Lost To Me (2014), featured in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling anthology, Dirty Boys of Summer. Represented by Rebecca Friedman of RF Literary.

Dawn is a Twitter and fashion addict whose favorite things in life are her family, gorgeous dresses, tea leaf salad, and French macarons. She splits her time between San Francisco and Northern Virginia, and is always up for a trip to Paris.
During release week the book will be on sale for $.99. On top of this sale Dawn and Jamie will also be giving away 2x3 book buttons to the first 100 people who buy the book!

Do you want some Kiss Kill Love Him Still button? Just click here to submit your entry.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

Until We Meet Again
By Renee Collins
Sourcebooks Fire
Young Adult Fiction
November 3, 2015
ISBN: 9781492621164
$16.99 Hard Cover

About the Book              
They exist in two different centuries, but their love defies time

Country clubs and garden parties. The last thing Cassandra wants is to spend the summer before her senior year marooned in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. Cass craves drama and adventure, which is hard when she just feels stuck.

But when a dreamy stranger shows up on her family’s private beach, claiming that it is his property—and that the year is 1925—Cass is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making. As she searches for answers in the present, Cass discovers a truth that thrusts Lawrence’s life into jeopardy. It won’t matter which century he is from if he won’t live to see tomorrow.

Desperate to save the boy who’s come to mean everything to her, Cassandra must find a way to change history…or risk losing Lawrence forever.

Purchase Here:
Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | IndieBound


The beach is empty. In the fading glow of twilight, the waves roll up to the rocks in sweeping curls of white foam. The sand glistens like wet steel. The grass bends low in the briny night wind. Always changing, yet always the same. I imagine the beach has looked like this since the beginning of time.
Stepping onto the soft terrain, I feel transported to some ancient evening, eons ago. Long before my uncle claimed this land as his own. Long before man even dared to taint these shores.
I wish the fleeting vision was true.
My gaze falls to the full moon’s reflection on the water. It’s broken into shards on the black sea, tossed about with each wave. A small, white shape catches my eye. It’s in the glare of the reflection, so I nearly miss it.
I step into the wave break. A seabird, dead and limp, is rolling back and forth in the foam. Her wings are spread open, her white-and-brown-speckled breast exposed.
I lift the small creature into my palm. What killed her? I wonder. There’s no sign of injury. Did she drown in the sea? Pinching her brittle, fragile leg gently between my fingers, I notice a small metal band snapped around her ankle. The sight of it startles me. Examining it closer, I catch the faint impression of numbers and letters etched into the band, but something in me resists reading them. I can’t say why.
What does it matter, anyhow? The poor creature is dead. And she reminds me that there is no going back. Time howls on, like the wind. And it is not only weaker creatures like this bird that succumb to it. Even the strongest man will fall before its crushing forward push.
I set the bird out into the water. As the tide pulls her away, I accept this truth. Soon the summer will be over. Too soon.

Chapter 1
Date: July 8.
Days at my mom and stepdad’s new summer home: 22
Hours spent at the froufrou country club: 0
Hours spent on the fancy private beach: 0
Hours spent lying on the couch bemoaning my lack of a life: somewhere in the 100s.
Number of times Mom has told me to make some new friends and stop moping around: also somewhere in the 100s.
To paraphrase Shakespeare: Oh, for a muse of fire to convey how utterly and completely bored I am.
Given the circumstances, it should be clear that I have no choice but to try to sneak into my neighbors’ yard and swim in their pool at 2:00 a.m.
My two accomplices are less than ideal. Travis Howard and Brandon Marks are local royalty of this ritzy, historic neighborhood slapped on the coast of Massachusetts’s North Shore. Both have the classic all-American look—tall, sparkling blue eyes, and a crop of blond hair that’s been gelled to scientific levels of perfection. But given the circumstances, they’ll have to do.
Brandon can barely keep pace as we cut along the tailored brush that adorns the Andersons’ back fence. Maybe because he’s too busy shooting nervous glances behind us.
“We’re being followed,” he says.
Travis and I exchange a look.
“Chill out, dude,” Travis says.
I sigh. “Seriously. I didn’t pack my smelling salts, so try not to faint.”
Travis holds out his fist for a bump.
Brandon is resolute. “At the very least, we’re being watched. You think these people don’t have security cameras?”
“No clue,” I say brightly.
“Well, that’s reassuring.”
“I try.”
I probably should have come on my own. Trouble is, I need a pair of hands to boost me over the fence. My little brother, Eddie, couldn’t do it, since he’s three. And for obvious reasons, I couldn’t ask Mom or Frank. That left the only other person I knew here: Travis.
He and I met at a garden party. How bourgeois is that? I was so bored I was ready to claw my eyes out. Then I saw this crazy guy doing a chair dance, to the utter shock of the local hens, and I decided he might be okay. Travis is pretty cool. He reminds me a little of my friend Jade back in Ohio. A delightful troublemaker. Having Travis’s buddy Brandon tagging along, however, has proved to be an unwelcome change of plans.
It’s late, but humidity still hangs in the air. Not as oppressive as during the day, but enough to make the hair against my neck damp. Crickets chirp loudly in the surrounding brush, which makes me uneasy somehow, as if their incessant noise will draw attention to us. As if they’re crying, “Look! Look! Look! Look!” to some unseen guard. Brandon’s nerves must be contagious.
Luckily, I spy the edge of the fence before I can dwell on my uneasiness for too long.
“We made it,” I say.
Gripping the bars, I look for a good spot to grab midway up. Travis helps me with the inspection.
“Right over here,” he says, motioning. “The ground’s a little higher on the other side, and those bushes will break your fall.”
“Nice,” I say, impressed. “You have a lot of experience breaking into private property?”
“Yeah, except we usually go for cash and high-value items. Breaking in to go swimming should be a nice change of pace.”
I smirk and he gives me a Mr. Teen USA wink.                                  

“All right then,” I say. “Hoist me up.”
Brandon steps in between us. “Are we seriously doing this? You know, your stepdad’s house has a huge private beach. If you want to swim so badly, can’t we go there?”
“You’re missing the point, Brandon.”
“You never explained the point.”
“Only a fool asks to understand that which cannot be grasped,” I say, pretending to quote some ancient philosopher.
Travis blinks. “Dude. That was deep.”
“I know, right?” I turn back to Brandon. “See? He gets it.”
“This is really stupid,” Brandon says, unamused.
I pull out my phone. “So, I guess you don’t want to be in the group shot then?”
Travis comes to my side and puts his arm around me. “Sweet! Selfie time.”
I hold out my phone, and he and I make an overly enthusiastic thumbs-up pose.
Brandon folds his arms impatiently across his chest. “Can we get on with this?”
“Well, look who’s eager to have some fun,” I say, giving him a hearty slap on the back. “About time you came aboard.”
Brandon shakes his head and holds out his interlocked hands. Travis stands across from him. Together, they form the perfect ladder. Pushing off of their shoulders, I reach for the top of the fence. One push and my leg tips over the edge.
“Got it!” I shout. Perched on the top of the wall, I survey my target. The pool is lit, even with the Andersons away for the week, and it gleams an appealing turquoise blue in the dark night. If I had time and my stuff, I’d paint the scene. For now, however, an immersive, performance-art type of scenario will have to suffice.
“Let’s do this,” I say, hopping onto the grass below. I land firmly on my feet and unlatch the side gate.
Brandon remains frozen at the threshold. “Cass…”
“Let me guess. You don’t think this is such a good idea.”
Travis laughs. “Seriously, dude, don’t be such a pansy.”
He starts through the gate when Brandon grabs his arm. “Trav. You know why we can’t.”
Travis says nothing, but a shadow crosses his expression. I frown. “What?”
When Travis doesn’t reply, Brandon exhales. “We could go to jail.”
“Oh, don’t be so dramatic—”
“No, seriously. We’re both…kind of on probation.”
He officially has my attention. “Explain.”
Travis shakes his head. “It’s not that big of a deal. Brandon’s freaking out.”
“Then tell me,” I say.
His eyes shift away from mine. “It was me and Brandon and some of the guys from the lacrosse team. One night a few weeks ago, we were a little drunk. It was late. And we sort of…broke into a liquor store.”
Brandon scrambles to explain before I can react. “It wasn’t my idea. We never would have done it—it was really stupid, okay? Anyway, we got caught, but Austin’s dad pulled some strings and got us off with a warning.”
I nod slowly. “I see. So, you got Daddums to skirt the law for you?”
“It’s not like that,” Travis says, but I can tell he’s really embarrassed.
Brandon sighs. “I can’t get into trouble. I’ve got a lacrosse scholarship on the line, and my parents would murder me if I screwed that up. Trav’s the same.”
I’m not sure which is more irritating, the sham justice system in these ritzy areas or the fact that there’s actually a legitimate reason to cut our little excursion short.
I fold my arms. “So after all this, we’re leaving?”
“I never said that,” Travis says, defensive.
Brandon glares. “Don’t be an idiot, Trav. It’s not worth it.”
I can tell by the look Brandon gives Travis that he actually means I’m not worth it. Irritation flares up in me.
“Well, I haven’t come all this way to wuss out now. You boys and your lacrosse scholarships are free to go back home.”
“Fine,” Brandon says. “I’m out of here.”
He storms off without a glance back. Travis lingers, but I can tell he’s seen the error of his ways and wants to go as well.
“Go ahead and leave,” I say. “I’m over the fence. I don’t need you anymore.”
Travis sighs. “Brandon’s right. We should probably get out of here.”
I plant my fists on my waist. “Nope. I’m going to swim.”
“Seriously, go. I can take it from here.”
“I’m not leaving you alone at two in the morning. It isn’t safe.”
I laugh. “How very gallant, Travis.”
“I’m serious. It isn’t safe.”
With only a smile, I turn and head for the pool. He calls my name in a sharp whisper, but I ignore him.
Little garden lights illuminate the path and surround the flagstone patio. The pool shimmers. You’ve got to hand it to the Andersons. They have a nice place here.
I circle the pool thoughtfully, then dip one toe in the water. “Ideal temperature.”
No simple entrance into the pool will do. It’s got to be diving board or nothing. With determination, I march to the elaborate diving area and grip the ladder.
Travis calls my name again. I glance over my shoulder with a sigh. He’s in the shadows by the shrubs.
“You’re crazy,” he whisper-yells.
“Guilty as charged, Travis, my dear.” I blow him a kiss and climb the diving-board ladder. My nerve ends tingle as I approach the long plank. It’s a stupid little thing, but I feel more alive now than I have all summer.
“Okay. Here goes nothing. One…two…”
The porch lights snap on with the fury of midday sun. It startles me so much that I throw my arms up to block it and almost fall backward into the pool.
“All right, kids,” a man’s voice booms. “Fun’s over.”
Who knew an uber rich gated community would have twenty-four-hour guards on staff? Oh wait. I knew. I just didn’t care.
A big man in a bouncer-type jacket strides in at the side of the deck, right near where I entered. To my left, Travis flattens against the house. Trapped. If he runs, the guard will notice for sure.
The beam of a high-powered flashlight blasts in my face.
“Get down from there.”
I shoot a look to the gently rippling pool water, then to Travis, then back to the guard. He’s clearly not in the mood to screw around.
Something about this situation feels so symbolic of this whole summer. There I was, about to plunge into that film internship in New York. Or go to  Paris with Jade. Or maybe the acting camp. I hadn’t really decided. Either way, I was ready to start living and get out of Nowhereville, Ohio. And what happens?
Mom and Frank get the crazy idea to rent a beach house in Massachusetts. And because Frank can work remotely with his finance job, they don’t rent it for a week like a normal family. They rent it for the entire summer. And of course, they insist on dragging me and Eddie down with them. To sit on my butt all day and to go to garden luncheons.
“Where are the two guys I saw you with?” the guard calls out.
Cameras. Of course there are cameras. The beam of the flashlight cuts from me to scan the yard. Travis’s whole body tenses, and a  wash of guilt passes over me. As much as I initially wrote him off as a rich jock, I actually kind of like the guy. He’s been cool and willing to play along with my ridiculous little shenanigans. I can’t let him suffer serious, long-lasting consequences.
Meeting Travis’s eyes, I mouth the word “go” and then wave to the security guard with both arms. “It’s just me, big guy. Me and my lonesome.”
The flashlight snaps up to me. My pulse races. What I’m doing, I’m not exactly sure. But the recklessness feels good.
“I thought I saw someone else,” the guard says.
He starts to pull the light away to search the yard. I have to act quickly. Drawing in a breath, I pull my sundress over my head and toss it on the patio. For a single, humiliating moment, the guard’s flashlight illuminates my red bra and underwear for all the world to see. Travis better be halfway home by now.
The guard’s voice is calm but laden with warning. “Miss…”
“Last one in the water’s a rotten egg!”
Drawing in a breath, I give one good bounce on the diving board, leap into the air, form the perfect swan position, and plunge into the water.

Praise for Until We Meet Again

“Mystery, romance, time travel, and danger…this one has it all…Suspenseful, poignant, and romantic: well worth the read.” —  Kirkus Reviews

“A hazy, romantic mystery that might appeal to fans of Nicholas Sparks.” —    School of Library Journal

“Until We Meet Again is tragically beautiful with twists you won’t see coming.”—Martina Boone, author of Compulsion and the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy

"A beach house, a mystery, and time-travel love make Until We Meet Again a romantic, engaging read."—Deb Caletti, National Book Award Finalist for Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

About the Author
Renee Collins grew up on a beach in Hawaii. Sadly, she never met anyone from the past on those shores, but she did go on to get a degree in History, which is almost the same. She currently lives in Colorado with her family..

Connect with Renee Collins 

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 6: Judith Graves

Bio: Award-winning writer and screenwriter Judith Graves loves tragic romance, werewolves, vampires, magic and all things a bit creepy. A firm believer that teen fiction can be action-packed, snarky and yet hit all the right emotional notes, Judith writes stories with attitude. She lives in northern Alberta and when she’s not writing, or playing bass in a cover band, she works in a school library.

You’re trapped in an  elevator with your favorite (actor/character/ author) and outside there is a horde of zombies, some weird animal is pounding on the top of the elevator...what happens next and who are you with?
I’m  with  screenwriter/director,  Joss  Weaton,  and  we’re  both  trying  to  “use  our words” to write our way out this mess. It doesn’t work. Oh, look, we’re dead.

What’s your favorite horror film or book?
One I can watch again and again, and still learn from is the film, The Shining. That it’s celebrating its 35th Anniversary this year is a real bonus. It’s on TV just about every night. ;)

Book: Fright Before Christmas: 13 Tales of Holiday Horrors

It’s the most wonderful time of year...or is it?

Christmas Eve is a night of mystery and magic, but not always in ways we expect. Things lurk in the shadows and they’re not the least bit jolly or merry. Let’s just say some presents are better left unopened.

‘Tis the season to be screaming along with our thirteen tales of holiday horrors. Ghosts. Monsters. Demons. And more!

This Christmas, be careful what you wish for...

Edited by Shannon Delany and Kelly Hashway with stories by: Richard Ankers, Jessica Bayliss, Ty Drago, Judith Graves, Jackie Horsfall, Patrick Hueller, Ally Mathews, Laura Pauling, Boyd Reynolds, Medeia Sharif, Andrea Stanet, Lea Storry, and Dax Varley

Buy Links: AmazonB&NiTunes


Twitter -

  a Rafflecopter giveaway
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...