Guest Post by Jackie Amsden, author of The Tokyo Cover Girls

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The Tokyo Cover Girls by Jackie Amsden     *     Genre: contemporary YA

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New York has Jacobs, Paris has Chanel, Milan has Versace and Tokyo has . . . Hello Kitty toilet plungers? With its cute-obsessed catalogue and magazine market, anyone who is anyone knows that modeling in Japan means being at the bottom of the fashion industry. Blake, Jess, and Hailey are doing their best to survive yet another casting where pigtails and toddler-impressions are a must when they stumble upon the opportunity of a lifetime. The prestigious Satsujin company has selected them to compete for a campaign that will transform the winner from commercial nobody to haute couture superstar faster than you can say Vogue Italia.

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Biggest Influences on Your Writing:

I read somewhere that Stephen King always starts his books with one question: “What would happen if…a girl with special powers was bullied at school…a boy with special powers was trapped in a haunted hotel…a dog was infected with rabies.

I started The Tokyo Cover Girls with a “What would happen if…” as well: what would happen if three girls went through the same thing I did–but the stakes were even higher.

When I was a child, I my favorite book was Cinderella. I was fascinated by the scene where she arrives at the ball for the first time. A girl that can transfix an entire room–and not just a regular sized room, a FREAKING CASTLE BALLROOM–with her gorgeous face, killer bod and stellar fashion choices. Now that was a power I wanted.

Though I eventually realized that the odds of turning myself into an animated princess were pretty low, I wasn’t concerned because by that time I had discovered a new idol. She was just as shiny and sparkly and two dimensional as the blue-gowned knockout I had grown up adoring but even better because she had time for boyfriends. She was The Fashion Model and she had it all.

I got my chance to become her at the age of 16 when a Japanese modelling agency offered me a two-month contract to model in Tokyo. At least so I thought.

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Above pics from my modelling career

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It wasn’t as though I expected a limo with magic pumpkins for wheels to pick me up from the airport, but I did come into the industry with a lot of other childish ideas–because, you know, I was a child. And unfortunately, these led me to a very dark place.

Haileyfinal2medMy first agency was called Pueblo and was staffed by a woman named Chaco, my booker, and a guy named Ricky, our manager. Chaco organized the castings and Ricky took us to them, always in the agency van. One evening after the last casting Ricky told us we wouldn’t be driven home like usual but would all have to take the subway back. The van had to go to the shop for some repairs, he said.

The other girls rolled their eyes and said this was just Chaco’s way of reprimanding them for refusing to carry their portfolios earlier. I was sure they were wrong. After all, the agency was there to take care of us. Taking the subway home was a small thing but still, why would they make life harder for us for no reason? Especially since my apartment was right next to the spot they parked the van every night.

About a half an hour later I walked past the office and saw the van, parked in its spot like usual. I remember just staring there for about ten seconds, totally flabbergasted by the fact that was suddenly so clear: the agency had lied to me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anPeTRGOz5U (video about my life in Tokyo)

Jessfinal2medIt was not the last time I would be bullied by the people that I thought were there to take care of me, and it wasn’t the last time that I would let them do it. Throughout the next two years of my modelling career, I felt constantly judged, monitored, manipulated, and controlled. Here I was, travelling the world, and making thousands of dollars per week at a time when my friends counted themselves lucky if they got a free Big Mac during their shifts and I was miserable.

I kept plodding along until one of my agents pushed me too far. I was in my Osaka apartment one night, about to make dinner when she called, her voice frantic and angry. She claimed that a client I was shooting a lingerie catalogue for the next morning had seen me at a casting that day and was freaking out because he thought I’d gained weight. She ordered me not to eat anything for the next 24 hours. I was confused. How would he have seen me–I hadn’t gone to any castings for his company that day. And I hadn’t done any bikini castings that day so he wouldn’t have been able to see my body even if he had just been hanging out at one of the studios I’d been to. Was she lying? But why? I had been struggling with my weight lately–was this just another ploy to punish me? But mostly I felt humiliated–I quit the industry a few months later.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if she hadn’t made that call? What if I had kept going and things had gotten even worse? What if my agency hadblakefinal2md become even more manipulative? What if clients had become even more demanding? What if the industry hadn’t been content with owning for two months, but had wanted to own me forever?

These questions swirled around in my head for a while until I read Pretty Little Liars, and was inspired to approach them through that novel’s unique blending of the mystery, thriller, and contemporary genres. America’s Next Top Model was another big influence on me and its idea of the “challenges.” I wondered what would happen if the challenges weren’t just about showing modelling skills, but about forcing girls to overcome their deepest and darkest fears?

I didn’t know the answer to any of these questions–but I wanted to. So I wrote the book to find out.

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Jackie Amsden worked as a fashion model in China, Japan, and Taiwan before retiring at the age of eighteen after one too many agent threats, nude photo shoot requests, and self-loathing-induced Pocky binges. If you’d like to learn more about her decent into the darker side of Asia’s candy-coated modeling industry sign up for free installments of her upcoming memoir, Toy Girl, at www.jackieamsden.com.

 

 

 

Cover Reveal: Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez

Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez     *     Published by Entangled Teen

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Some secrets are best kept hidden…

Anastasia Phoenix has always been the odd girl out, whether moving from city to international city with her scientist parents or being the black belt who speaks four languages.

And most definitely as the orphan whose sister is missing, presumed dead.

She’s the only one who believes Keira is still alive, and when new evidence surfaces, Anastasia sets out to follow the trail—and lands in the middle of a massive conspiracy. Now she isn’t sure who she can trust. At her side is Marcus, the bad boy with a sexy accent who’s as secretive as she is. He may have followed her to Rome to help, but something about him seems too good to be true.

Nothing is as it appears, and when everything she’s ever known is revealed to be a lie, Anastasia has to believe in one impossibility.

She will find her sister.

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author
dianaDiana Rodriguez Wallach is not the child of super spies, as far as she knows. But she is an avid traveler, and every scene in her books comes from a place she has lived or visited—from her senior year apartment in Boston, MA to the hotel where she stayed in Cortona, Italy. In addition to the Anastasia Phoenix series, Diana is also the author of the award-winning Amor and Summer Secrets series; the Mirror, Mirror short story collection; and essays in both Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories and Latina Authors and Their Muses. She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, and is a Creative Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two kids. But of course, this all could be a masterly crafted piece of disinformation…

Giveaway, Guest Post & Excerpt: The Lying Planet by Carol Riggs

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The Lying Planet by Carol Riggs     *     Published by Entangled Teen

Published on September 19th, 2016     *     Genre: YA Science Fiction

The Lying PlanetPromise City. That’s the colony I’ve been aiming for all my life on the planet Liberty. The only thing standing in my way? The Machine. On my eighteenth birthday, this mysterious, octopus-like device will scan my brain and Test my deeds. Good thing I’ve been focusing on being Jay Lawton, hard worker and rule follower, my whole life. Freedom is just beyond my fingertips.

Or so I thought. Two weeks before my Testing with the Machine, I’ve stumbled upon a new reality. The truth. In a single sleepless night, everything I thought I knew about the adults in our colony changes. And the only one who’s totally on my side is the clever, beautiful rebel, Peyton. Together we have to convince the others to sabotage their Testings before it’s too late.

Before the ceremonies are over and the hunting begins.

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guestpost7 Fun Facts about THE LYING PLANET by Carol Riggs

Fun Fact #1: Written in 2010-11, this book was originally a post-apocalyptic dystopian set on Earth. Carol rewrote it in 2015 as a sci-fi, and set it on the planet of Liberty.

Fun Fact #2: Liberty is different from Earth in that it has 2 moons, a 26-hour day, an 8-day week that includes Restday, and it has nightly ground-swells that water the planet instead of rain.

Fun Fact #3: The Machine is almost a character in this book. It’s a mysterious entity that weighs the graduates’ deeds and attitudes on their 18th birthday, scanning their brains and giving them a final score that determines whether they’ll be rewarded—or banished.

Fun Fact #4: The main players are Jay as the main character, his girlfriend Aubrie, the rebels Peyton and Leonard, and Jay’s best friend Harrel. Add in the hard-nosed Commander Farrow, as well as Jay’s parents and 2 little sisters.

Fun Fact #5: Wordbuilding details include greshfruit, which is a sweet fruit like an apple only softer like a nectarine, and a vermal is similar to a coyote but more bulky and powerful. Genomide dust is a deadly chemical powder that gets on your skin and in your lungs; it burns people and causes genocide, or mass killings.

Fun Fact #6: Even though this book is sci-fi and set in the future, Jay’s life is pretty backward and agricultural. He’s cut off from the cool tech he wants to explore in Promise City, where they have holographic movies, cloudskimmers, recorded music, and wristcomms (which is like a phone). There’s a reason for this more “primitive” lifestyle—as readers will discover…

Fun Fact #7: At Jay’s graduation ceremony when he turns 18, a score of 50 or above from the Machine will earn him a wristcomm. A score of 75+ will earn a laser knife or a choice of supply equipment, 100+ earns things like a ludmium-charged music player or a hybrid-power hoverbike, and 150+ earns a cloudskimmer or a UHV (Utility Hover Vehicle). A score below 25 will get the teens banished to the genomide-polluted outer zones…not the greatest birthday present!

 

excerpt

Inside the enormous building, I walk by rows of empty bleachers. My footsteps slow as I near an imposing apparatus.

The Machine.

A full three meters tall, the Machine’s silver arms flare out from a single seat, making it look like a predatory mutant octopus. A plexifiber dome encloses and protects it. A biolock secures access to the dome. It looks almost alive, as though it’s waiting, sleeping…conserving energy until it’s time for the graduation ceremony.

Shivers crawl down my arms. Eerie as it is, the Testing Machine is my ticket out of Sanctuary. It’ll show what I’ve contributed to the zone and prove I’m worthy to join the colony of Promise City. Thanks to the uncanny way it judges us—and the Board rewarding high scores and threatening banishment for low ones—productivity has skyrocketed. The Machine boggles my mind. For the last six years it’s been here, ever since kids were eighteen and old enough for the Testing to start up, it has held the power of life and death on this planet.

Literally.

A rowdy whoop echoes around the stadium, making me flinch.

“Hey, Lawton, ogling the beast?” a deep voice calls. “Making sure it’s recording every single one of your dedicated community services?”

I turn to find one of my friends wearing a helioball cap walking into the building. Nash Redmond. A ludmium-powered pruning device and a maintenance bucket dangle from his hands. Two of our other friends are on landscaping duty with him, carrying tools and wearing gloves. Leonard walks beside him, his lanky form mimicking Nash’s casual walk, but Peyton copies no one. Her petite, tomboyish body moves toward me with purpose. Her uniform is mismatched, an orange shirt paired with dark blue pants.

“Hey, Nash,” I say. After what we’ve seen at the education compound, I don’t know how he can act normal, almost cheerful. I give Peyton a half smile. “Why are you still hanging out with these guys?”

She grins, her slightly crooked teeth crisp and white against her naturally brown skin. “They’re insane. I adore insanity.”

“I hope you don’t regret it.” I toss a meaningful glance at the Machine, and it’s not reassuring that she shrugs. She’s changed over the seasons, gone renegade. Ever since that one Harvest Equinox party two years ago, when we stopped hanging out. Now she skips education sessions with Nash and Leonard and works at community service only long enough to log in her required hours. I doubt she’ll flunk and get banished, but she won’t score very high. Apparently the Machine doesn’t spur everyone into being more productive.

“Peyton doesn’t care, so why should you?” Nash asks me. “All we need to do is pass the Testing, not reach superhero-level scores. Take me, for instance. Do I look worried? No, because tomorrow at my ceremony, I’m gonna pass.”

 

author

Carol Riggs

I’m a writer of Young Adult fiction. My YA sci-fi debut novel, THE BODY INSTITUTE, explores themes of body image and identity. My YA fantasy, BOTTLED, released July 7, 2016, from Clean Reads. My YA sci-fi, THE LYING PLANET (formerly called Safe Zone), will release September 19, 2016, via Entangled Teen. I live in the beautiful, green state of Oregon and have a Studio Arts degree. I’m an SCBWI member.

You’ll usually find me in my writing cave, surrounded by my dragon collection and the characters in my head. I enjoy reading–mostly young adult novels–as well as drawing, painting, and quilting. I also attend writing conferences, walk with my husband, and enjoy music and dance of all kinds.

Find me on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/CarolRiggsAu…
Tweet with me on Twitter. @Artzicarol: https://twitter.com/artzicarol
Email me! carolriggsauthor [at] gmail [dot] com

The Gender Game by Bella Forrest

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* For fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent. *

The Gender Game by Bella Forrest     Release date: 24 September 2016

Genre: Young Adult Sci fi/Dystopian

the gender gameA toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates’s world by gender.

Women rule the East. Men rule the West.

Welcome to the lands of Matrus and Patrus…

Ever since the death of her mother, Violet’s life has been shadowed by bad luck. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now after two unfortunate incidents resulting in womanslaughter, she has been sentenced to death.


But one decision could save her life.

One decision to enter the kingdom of Patrus, where men rule and women submit.
Everything about the patriarchy defies Violet’s identity, but she must sacrifice many things if she wishes to survive the forbidden kingdom… including forbidden love.

 

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What Early Readers are Saying:


“Bella takes this genre to a new level. Imagine the intrigue of Divergent, the suspense of The Maze Runner and the heart-pounding excitement of The Hunger Games. That is the magic Bella is working with her new novel The Gender Game.”


“The chemistry between the characters is INTENSE. Forbidden romance at its best!”

“You can never predict where Bella Forrest will take a story!”

Intrigue, danger and mystery at every corner.”

“Once I started reading, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop. My heart raced along with Violet’s […] The twists and turns so far in this book have left my mouth hanging agape.”

“Intrigue, espionage, and a strong, smart female at the center of it all. Had me sucked in from the get go.”

 

Pre-order links:

Ebook (pre-order now to lock in the lower launch price): http://GetBook.at/TGG

Paperback: http://GetBook.at/TGGp

author

Best known for writing fantasy, Bella Forrest is a lover of romance and mystery-infused stories with twists you won’t see coming. She has sold over five million books since her first novel was published in 2012.

 

Follow her on Twitter: @ashadeofvampire

Check out her website: www.bellaforrest.net

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cblt1c7Kgf4

Giveaway, Excerpt & Review: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

“Losing myself in Jenny Colgan’s beautiful pages is the most delicious, comforting, satisfying treat I have had in ages.” — Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author of Summer Secrets

bookshoponthecornerpbNina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

“This is a lovely novel with amazing characters who are hooked on books… at least some of them. The plot is believable and is a joy to read. The main female character, Nina, is the librarian who always figures out the best choice for a patron without fail. Jenny Colgan thinks outside the box and creates a memorable book.” — RT Book Reviews

William Morrow Paperbacks     September 20, 2016

ISBN: 9780062467256; $14.99     E-ISBN 9780062467263; $9.99

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 Win 1 of 3 Print Copies of The Bookshop on the Corner

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I jumped at the chance to read and review a story about a woman and her mobile bookstore in Scotland, and I am so glad I did.  This book had all my favorite things: quiet book lovers, quirky Scottish characters, humor, romance, and surprises.   If you are looking for a fun, light read with heart and depth: you will enjoy The Bookshop on the Corner.

I could relate to the main character, Nina.  She is an introverted librarian who must find employment after her library branch is closed.  As doors close at work and home (her roommate is fed up with Nina’s book collection/hoarding), she finds herself buying an over-sized van and making her dream of a mobile bookstore a reality.  Nina packs up as many books as she can fit in her tiny car, leaves Birmingham, England and relocates to Kirrinfief, Scotland, a small community in desperate need of a bookstore.  Her new neighbors welcome her and quickly become loyal customers.

Nina’s approach to this leap of faith and her adaption to new surroundings and unconventional job is entertaining and uplifting.  Her interactions with her new landlord, friends, customers, and romantic interests (yes!  more than one gentlemen catches her eye) are believable and refreshing.  The relationships are strengthened as Nina thoughtfully recommends books to entertain, educate, and encourage her customers.  All bookworms will love Nina for helping her community through literature and root for her to get her own Happily-Ever-After.

excerpt

The problem with good things that happen is that very often they disguise themselves as awful things. It would be lovely, wouldn’t it, whenever you’re going through something difficult, if someone could just tap you on the shoulder and say, “Don’t worry, it’s completely worth it. It seems like absolutely horrible crap now, but I promise it will all come good in the end,” and you could say, “Thank you, Fairy Godmother.” You might also say, “Will I also lose that seven pounds?” and they would say, “But of course, my child!”

That would be useful, but it isn’t how it is, which is why we sometimes plow on too long with things that aren’t making us happy, or give up too quickly on something that might yet work itself out, and it is often difficult to tell precisely which is which.

A life lived forward can be a really irritating thing. So Nina thought, at any rate. Nina Redmond, twenty-nine, was telling herself not to cry in public. If you have ever tried giving yourself a good talking-to, you’ll know it doesn’t work terribly well. She was at work, for goodness’ sake. You weren’t meant to cry at work.

She wondered if anyone else ever did. Then she wondered if maybe everyone did, even Cathy Neeson, with her stiff too-blond hair, and her thin mouth and her spreadsheets, who was right at this moment standing in a corner, watching the room with folded arms and a grim expression, after delivering to the small team Nina was a member of a speech filled with jargon about how there were cutbacks all over, and Birmingham couldn’t afford to maintain all its libraries, and how austerity was something they just had to get used to.

Nina reckoned probably not. Some people just didn’t have a tear in them.

(What Nina didn’t know was that Cathy Neeson cried on the way to work, on the way home from work—after eight o’clock most nights—every time she laid someone off, every time she was asked to shave another few percent off an already skeleton budget, every time she was ordered to produce some new quality relevant paperwork, and every time her boss dumped a load of administrative work on her at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon on his way to a skiing vacation, of which he took many.

Eventually she ditched the entire thing and went and worked in a National Trust gift shop for a fifth of the salary and half the hours and none of the tears. But this story is not about Cathy Neeson.)

It was just, Nina thought, trying to squash down the lump in her throat . . . it was just that they had been such a little library.

Children’s story time Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Early closing Wednesday afternoon. A shabby old-fashioned building with tatty linoleum floors. A little musty sometimes, it was true. The big dripping radiators could take a while to get going of a morning and then would become instantly too warm, with a bit of a fug, particularly off old Charlie Evans, who came in to keep warm and read the Morning Star cover to cover, very slowly. She wondered where the Charlie Evanses of the world would go now.

Cathy Neeson had explained that they were going to compress the library services into the center of town, where they would become a “hub,” with a “multimedia experience zone” and a coffee shop and an “intersensory experience,” whatever that was, even though town was at least two bus trips too far for most of their elderly or strollered-up clientele.

Their lovely, tatty, old pitched-roof premises were being sold off to become executive apartments that would be well beyond the reach of a librarian’s salary. And Nina Redmond, twenty-nine, bookworm, with her long tangle of auburn hair, her pale skin with freckles dotted here and there, and a shyness that made her blush—or want to burst into tears—at the most inopportune moments, was, she got the feeling, going to be thrown out into the cold winds of a world that was getting a lot of unemployed librarians on the market at the same time.

“So,” Cathy Neeson had concluded, “you can pretty much get started on packing up the ‘books’ right away.”

She said “books” like it was a word she found distasteful in her shiny new vision of Mediatech Services. All those grubby, awkward books.

Nina dragged herself into the back room with a heavy heart and a slight redness around her eyes. Fortunately, everyone else looked more or less the same way. Old Rita O’Leary, who should probably have retired about a decade ago but was so kind to their clientele that everyone overlooked the fact that she couldn’t see the numbers on the Dewey Decimal System anymore and filed more or less at random, had burst into floods, and Nina had been able to cover up her own sadness comforting her.

“You know who else did this?” hissed her colleague Griffin through his straggly beard as she made her way through. Griffin was casting a wary look at Cathy Neeson, still out in the main area as he spoke. “The Nazis. They packed up all the books and threw them onto bonfires.”

“They’re not throwing them onto bonfires!” said Nina. “They’re not actually Nazis.”

“That’s what everyone thinks. Then before you know it, you’ve got Nazis.”

With breathtaking speed, there’d been a sale, of sorts, with most of their clientele leafing through old familiar favorites in the ten pence box and leaving the shinier, newer stock behind.

Now, as the days went on, they were meant to be packing up the rest of the books to ship them to the central library, but Griffin’s normally sullen face was looking even darker than usual. He had a long, unpleasantly scrawny beard, and a scornful attitude toward people who didn’t read the books he liked. As the only books he liked were obscure 1950s out-of-print stories about frustrated young men who drank too much in Fitzrovia, that gave him a lot of time to hone his attitude. He was still talking about book burners.

“They won’t get burned! They’ll go to the big place in town.”

Nina couldn’t bring herself to even say Mediatech.

Griffin snorted. “Have you seen the plans? Coffee, computers, DVDs, plants, admin offices, and people doing cost–benefit analysis and harassing the unemployed—sorry, running ‘mindfulness workshops.’ There isn’t room for a book in the whole damn place.” He gestured at the dozens of boxes. “This will be landfill. They’ll use it to make roads.”

“They won’t!”

“They will! That’s what they do with dead books, didn’t you know? Turn them into underlay for roads. So great big cars can roll over the top of centuries of thought and ideas and scholarship, metaphorically stamping a love of learning into the dust with their stupid big tires and blustering Top Gear idiots killing

the planet.”

“You’re not in the best of moods this morning, are you, Griffin?”

“Could you two hurry it along a bit over there?” said Cathy Neeson, bustling in, sounding anxious. They only had the budget for the collection trucks for one afternoon; if they didn’t manage to load everything up in time, she’d be in serious trouble.

“Yes, Commandant Über-Führer,” said Griffin under his breath as she bustled out again, her blond bob still rigid. “God, that woman is so evil it’s unbelievable.”

But Nina wasn’t listening. She was looking instead in despair at the thousands of volumes around her, so hopeful with their beautiful covers and optimistic blurbs. To condemn any of them to waste disposal seemed heartbreaking: these were books! To Nina it was like closing down an animal shelter. And there was no way they were going to get it all done today, no matter what Cathy Neeson thought.

Which was how, six hours later, when Nina’s Mini Metro pulled up in front of the front door of her tiny shared house, it was completely and utterly stuffed with volumes.

More praise for Jenny Colgan and THE BOOKSHOP ON THE CORNER:

“With a keen eye for the cinematic, Colgan (Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery, 2016, etc.) is a deft mistress of romantic comedy; Nina’s story is laced with clever dialogue and scenes set like jewels, just begging to be filmed. A charming, bracingly fresh happily-ever-after tale…”  — Kirkus

“This charming tale celebrates the many ways books bring people together.” — Booklist

“This light, fresh romantic comedy is the perfect escape for bibliophiles. Enjoy it with a cup of tea on a crisp day.” — Real Simple

 “[A] love story about reading and the joys books can bring to people’s lives.” — All About Romance

 

author

10641099_874725685878907_4910067492217763294_nJenny Colgan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including Little Beach Street Bakery, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, and Christmas at the Cupcake Café, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland.

Connect with Jenny Colgan

Website    Twitter    Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

In Every Way by Amy Sparling

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This is my stop during the book blitz for In Every Way by Amy Sparling. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.

In Every WayIn Every Way
By Amy Sparling
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 13 September, 2016

Blurb:
It’s the start of summer and Josh Graham will be working at his parent’s surf shop. When his best friend Colby goes on vacation, Josh is stuck working with Bryce—and all of Bryce’s terrible ideas for summer. They make a list of what the “perfect girlfriend” would be like, and now they plan to find her. It shouldn’t be too hard, since Josh is one of the hottest, most popular guys in school. Right?

Bess Navarre would rather read a book than go outside. She’s chubby, dorky, and a self-proclaimed loser. But when her grandmother volunteers her to work at a jewelry kiosk on the beach, Bess has to comply, no matter how humiliating it is. Bikinis and Bess do not go together, and now she feels even dorkier than ever.

When Bess and Josh’s paths collide, sparks fly. But it won’t be that easy. Bryce wants Josh to date a supermodel. And although Bess might just fit all of the things on Josh’s list, she won’t give herself a chance to figure it out.

You can find In Every Way on Goodreads

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There is a book blitz wide giveaway for the book blitz of In Every Way.

These are the prizes you can win:
– a signed paperback of In Every Way by Amy Sparling (US only)
– a 10$ amazon gift card (International)

For a chance to win, click here to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

author
Amy SparlingAmy Sparling is the author of The Summer Unplugged Series, Deadbeat & other awesome books for younger teens. She lives in Texas and has an addiction to sparkly nail polish, taking photos of her cute dog, and swooning over book boyfriends.

You can find and contact Amy here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads

 


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Cover Reveal: Protecting Her Secrets by Dana Volney

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Protecting Her Secrets (Wyn Security #3)     By Dana Volney

COVER REVEAL

Release Date: October 10, 2016

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Ever since her brother, Robert, was murdered last year, FBI Special Agent Hannah Malone has had her mind set on revenge. Finally given the opportunity to investigate the man she holds responsible for Robert’s death and put him behind bars, she isn’t going to let anything or anyone get in her way. Telling a few lies, stretching a couple truths, and misleading the one man willing to help her is a small price to pay for justice.

Eddie Dever is great with technology, but with family—not so much. Instead of looking after his brother, Leo, after their mom died he enlisted in the Army. When Leo is charged with murder, Eddie will do whatever it takes to prove Leo’s innocence and make up for his absence. Even if that means going undercover with an overzealous FBI Agent on a crazy mission.

Playing the part of wife while undercover starts to become easy, too easy, and Hannah’s secrets become harder to keep. When the safe house Eddie stashed his brother at is attacked, the gloves come off and the ammo comes out.

Will they find justice before they take the job too far?

author

7373805Dana Volney lets her imagination roam free in Wyoming where she writes romances and helps local businesses succeed with her marketing consulting company. Surrounding herself with good friends and family, Dana thrives on moments and memories created with loved ones, especially while baking. Not possessing the natural ability to want to cook every day, she enjoys watching culinary shows while eating take-out – it helps her to dream up sweet treats and sexy men. Dana is bold, adventurous and, by her own admission, good with plants, having kept a coral cactus alive for more than one year.

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Giveaway & Excerpt from Olivia Decoded by Vivi Barnes

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Olivia TwistedOlivia Twisted Synopsis (Olivia Twisted, #1):

Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Liv might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Liv and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…

Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.

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Olivia DecodedOlivia Decoded (Olivia Twisted, #2)

Release Date: Sept. 6, 2016      Genre: YA Thriller

This isn’t my Jack, who once looked at me like I was his world. The guy who’s occupied the better part of my mind for eight months.

This is Z, criminal hacker with a twisted agenda and an arsenal full of anger.

I’ve spent the past year trying to get my life on track. New school. New friends. New attitude. But old flames die hard, and one look at Jack—the hacker who enlisted me into his life and his hacking ring, stole my heart, and then left me—and every memory, every moment, every feeling comes rushing back. But Jack’s not the only one who’s resurfaced in my life. And if I can’t break through Z’s defenses and reach the old Jack, someone will get hurt…or worse.

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A signed copy of Olivia Decoded + a $25 Amazon Gift Card

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ViviBarnes

Vivi Barnes was raised on a farm in East Texas where her theater-loving mom and cowboy dad gave her a unique perspective on life. After college, she convinced her supportive husband to move with her to be part of the sunshine and magic in Orlando, Florida. On a good day, she manages to divide her time writing, working, reading, goofing off with her three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes. Vivi is a proud member of SCBWI and attends conferences whenever she can.

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excerpt

“Wow, who gave you that?”

“My grandfather. He left it on my car seat this morning.”

“Oh, boo. I thought maybe you had a secret admirer or something.” I try not to smile at her obvious disappointment. Emerson’s been on me to date for months now. She knows I had someone back in Richmond who was special, but only that we broke it off before I moved here. She doesn’t know anything else about Jack. No one does, because what would I say? The last guy I dated is a criminal, and the last time I saw him was right after we got kidnapped by his horrible boss and almost died trying to escape. That’d go over really well.

“I don’t know, what do you think?” Emerson breaks into my thoughts as we walk down the hallway to our lockers.

“About what?”

She sighs. “Where Kade’s taking me tonight. Girl, you are not with it today, are you? Are you doing anything tonight?”

“My grandfather’s taking me to dinner.”

“Sweet. Not so romantic, but sweet.”

I smile. “Yes, he’s sweet. But a little over the top on gifts sometimes.” Even after eight months of living the wealthy life, I’d be happier if he gave me a gift card to a bookstore instead of extravagant jewelry I rarely wear.

My phone starts buzzing, and I pull it from my pocket. Grandfather’s text reads: What gift?

I frown, typing, The bracelet you left in my car. I snap a quick picture of the bracelet on my wrist and send it to him. Maybe his text was a hint to send a picture, though I doubt it. He’s usually pretty direct about things.

“What’s up?” Emerson asks.

“Looks like Grandfather forgot he left me the bracelet.” But even as I say it, it doesn’t sound right. He’s one of the sharpest people I’ve ever known, and he runs a financial institution.

“Maybe he gave it to one of his staff to put in your car.” Her voice has the usual bitter tone whenever she’s thinking of her parents. They’re hardly ever around, and when they are, they don’t pay much attention to her.

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” I don’t believe that, though. Even though it’s possible Mrs. Bedwin did put it there, I doubt it. Grandfather is the type to handle things himself when it comes to me. But Emerson’s parents travel so much for their business that they often let their staff handle things like birthdays and other events they think aren’t important. So as grateful as I am that Grandfather’s always there for me, I don’t like to rub that in Emerson’s face.

“Maybe you really do have a secret admirer,” she says hopefully.

I roll my eyes.“I doubt that.”

“Oh, really?” She stops in her tracks, her eyes fixed straight ahead. I follow her gaze, a sharp sense of dread creeping down my spine. A white rose is dangling from the vent in my locker.

A rose I know wasn’t placed there by my grandfather.

Review & Excerpt: Too Wild to Tame by Tessa Bailey

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Sometimes you just can’t resist playing with fire…

By day, Aaron Clarkson suits up, shakes hands, and acts the perfect gentleman. But at night, behind bedroom doors, the tie comes off and the real Aaron comes out to play. Mixing business with pleasure got him fired, so Aaron knows that if he wants to work for the country’s most powerful senator, he’ll have to keep his eye on the prize. That’s easier said than done when he meets the senator’s daughter, who’s wild, gorgeous, and 100 percent trouble.

Grace Pendleton is the black sheep of her conservative family. Yet while Aaron’s presence reminds her of a past she’d rather forget, something in his eyes keeps drawing her in. Maybe it’s the way his voice turns her molten. Or maybe it’s because deep down inside, the ultra-smooth, polished Aaron Clarkson might be more than even Grace can handle…

 

On Sale: September 6, 2016     Publisher: Forever     eBook: $2.99 USD

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review1

Only Tessa Bailey can craft a series about four siblings driving coast to coast and pack it full of laughs, heart, drama, romance, and her signature heat level: *%@$#! HAWT.

I highly recommend you dive in with Book 1, Too Hot to Handle, to get the backstory and a feel for the Clarksons.  If you don’t, you’ll still be able to easily follow Book 2, but you will miss the conversations and situations that reveal Aaron’s personality.  You’ll want to know more about him, and Tessa Bailey delivers in Too Wild to Tame.

Both Aaron and Grace are the oddballs in their respective families, but for very different reasons.  Aaron is the go getter who wants a career in politics and Grace is the black sheep her political family keeps hidden to avoid scandal.  These two find each other one night in the woods, and neither can deny the immediate attraction.  I loved their interactions and awkwardness around each other, and their romance was unlike anything I have read before.  There is so much more going on than opposites attracting in this book.

Aaron and Grace have plenty in common: unusual families, buried secrets, hidden agendas, and let’s just say they have LOTS in common once they act on their mutual attraction.  Their story is full of surprising revelations, and you can’t help but root for them to weather all the storms brewing around them. 

There is unexpected depth and heart in the plot of this contemporary romance, but that is part for the Tessa Bailey course.  Her stories are never just “boy meets girl.”  They are more along the lines of a strong, independent woman crossing paths with the dirty talking alpha man she wasn’t looking for because she was so busy kicking ass in a remarkably unique way.  

I loved reuniting with Aaron’s siblings from Book 1.  Their journey across the States is part family bonding and part traveling circus.  I love all the humor and heart… and I  forward to the next installment of the Clarksons’ adventure across America. 

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excerpt

The security guard at the rear entrance came into view, his familiar hawk eyes zeroing in on Grace. Then Aaron. Exasperation moved over the guard’s features before he hid it by adjusting his earpiece. Activity swarmed on the front side of the building, the media, the shouted questions, the general scrape and hum of movement audible, even where they walked along the backside of the school.

Knowing once they were inside, she wouldn’t see Aaron again, Grace smiled up at him, noticing he didn’t look quite as confident as he had a moment before. “It was nice meeting you,” she whispered. “Thanks for not ratting me out.”

“I…” He smoothed a hand down the front of his ruby-colored tie. “I won’t see you…around again?”

Grace’s hands itched with the urge to burrow into her hair, latch on to the braids she’d completed this morning while waiting for Aaron to show. “Probably not. Why would you?”

Why was he frowning at her? She couldn’t ask him why, since they were within earshot of the guard and the walk had ended way too soon. With a final memorization of his furrowed brow, she transferred her focus. “Hey, Marcus.”

“Grace.” Marcus dipped his chin at Aaron. “Who’s this?”

Her neck grew stiff. “This is my handler for today. He’s new.”

Marcus split a look between her and Aaron, before consulting his clipboard. “No one ran a change in staff by me.”

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Giveaway, Excerpt & Review: Wake the Hollow by Gaby Triana

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wake the hollow

Forget the ghosts, Mica. It’s real, live people you should fear.

Tragedy has brought Micaela Burgos back to her hometown of Sleepy Hollow. It’s been six years since she chose to live with her father in Miami instead of her eccentric mother. And now her mother is dead.

This town will suck you in and not let go.

Sleepy Hollow may be famous for its fabled headless horseman, but the town is real. So are its prejudices and hatred, targeting Mica’s family as outsiders. But ghostly voices carry on the wind, whispering that her mother’s death was based on hate…not an accident at all. With the help of two very different guys—who pull at her heart in very different ways—Micaela must awaken the hidden secret of Sleepy Hollow…before she meets her mother’s fate.

Find the answers.

Unless, of course, the answers find you first.

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Published by Entangled Teen * Published on August 2nd, 2016

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

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Grand Prize: One Halloween bracelet made by the author

& a $20 Amazon gift card!

Runners Up: One of Seven Halloween bracelets!

(All prizes are US only)

Click Here to Enter!  Good Luck!

review1

LOVE LOVE LOVE this book!!  Such a great blend of the spooky story we all know and a modern day mystery.  The author did a great job weaving historical elements about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’s author, setting and plot with contemporary characters living in its influence on their small town.

Wake the Hollow is fast paced and suspenseful, and any fan of mysteries and ghost stories will enjoy how the story unfolds.  Since her mother’s sudden passing, Mica has been hearing voices, and she returns to Sleepy Hollow for answers to the unusual circumstances surrounding her mom’s death.  She soon finds herself in the middle of a mystery involving Washington Irving’s journal, his descendants’ secrets, a possible scandal and a fortune up for grabs… With the help of two local boys, Mica searches for the truth about her Mom and the deeply buried secrets about the author who put Sleepy Hollow on the map.

Author Gaby Triana did a great job crafting a YA coming of age story set in an famous literary setting. I loved the way the town embraced its claim to fame, and how some residents tolerated the hoopla and others were deeply entrenched in the author and legend of Sleepy Hollow.  The suspenseful plot kept me guessing to the end, and I think any fan of YA lit and spooky mysteries will love Wake the Hollow.  The book is well written, the story and characters are well developed, and I liked how the romance took a back seat to all the mystery and intrigue.  This would be a great read and/or gift during Halloween!

excerpt

Chapter One

“A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere…”

Washington Irving, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

Copy of WtH7Follow me, please. The woman’s smoky silhouette hovers over me again.

Leave me alone. I cover my eyes, though I can still see her swirling shape through my fingers.

She floats closer, wringing her misty hands. You mustn’t ignore me, Micaela. You must come with me.

Stop, I won’t go with you! I hate that I can never see her face clearly. Why won’t she leave me alone? Wake up!

A long screech rips me from the hazy dream. My eyes fly open, and my hands grip the first thing ahead of me for balance. Seats. Plastic. Brakes hiss to a stop. A drunk old man asleep in a window seat opposite mine stirs. Where am I? The Metro-North train…that’s right. We’ve pulled into Tarrytown station. 11:28 p.m. I almost slept through my stop.

Hurrying, I stand to gather my bags, try to shake off the haunting image of the faceless woman. But her voice rings through my brain fog one last time…need to face the inevitable

She got that right.

As difficult as this is for me, I have to do it. For my mom. And my sanity.

The train doors slide open, and I stumble through them onto the platform. The sweet smell of the river mingled with cold, fresh air hits me. I’m transported six years back, waiting for my southbound train to the city, for my plane out of this forsaken place to go live with Dad in Miami. Don’t think about it, I remind myself. Just do what you came to do, then get back home.

The valley hasn’t changed much in six years. The station is still the same old cabin from when I was twelve. Boxy, old houses still sit across the street, and behind me, power lines still ruin the view of the Hudson’s palisades.

Lumbering into the station with all my stuff, I see the building is empty except for a woman using the ticket machine, in a hurry so she won’t miss the train. Her little girl has a teddy bear in the crook of one arm and a jacket in the other, all while trying to play a video game on her handheld. “Let’s go, baby.” The mother tugs her child by the elbow clutching the teddy bear. The bear drops to the ground without the girl noticing, and the two move on.

I reach down to grab it, my bags slipping off my shoulders and hitting the ground. “Ma’am.” I run over and hand the mother the little girl’s bear.

“Oh, thank you so much! She would’ve freaked.” The mom smiles at me.

The little girl takes her bear, gives me a shy glance with big brown eyes, and together, they hurry across the platform, jumping onto the train just in time.

The doors slide closed. The train slips into the night.

She almost left her bear.

The very memory I told myself to avoid at all costs comes barreling in—my last day here six years ago. The station’s honey wood paneling, the lines on my mother’s face, how she looked so worn. She’d held a tissue to her stiff lips.

Then the worst part—I’d pushed Sofia, the doll she’d made me when I was little, into her hands. “Take care of her for me,” I’d said, though I knew she wouldn’t. Just like she hadn’t taken care of me.

Her gaze had gripped me, hazel eyes welling up, burning through pain. “Selfish, like your father,” she’d said. “Go. You two deserve each other.” Then she’d turned and left.

I remember standing there shaking, not knowing what to do, what to think, whether I was making a mistake by leaving. But I needed to go. I needed a parent. Sorrow crushing me, I stepped onto the train, and when I reached my father’s arms three thousand miles later, I cried for days.

Yet, despite it all, I’m here. Because she asked me to come. Because I want to make things right with her.

Because I need closure before I can move on with my life.

I wipe my eyes with my sleeve and head outside to find Abraham Derant, my best friend from Sleepy Hollow Past. He’ll probably be the only person happy to see me back. We reconnected online recently, where I had the chance to browse through his selfies and discover that everyone now calls him “Bram,” which makes me laugh, because he always hated his name. But it suits him, too. He’s changed a lot since we were twelve—now he’s big and brawny and athletic—a fact that knots my stomach. I can’t start anything romantic with him, though. One, he’ll always be just Abraham—the boy who grew up with me at Sunnyside, the historic home in town where both our moms worked. He did always try too hard, joke too much…plus he didn’t bathe every day. So, yeah.

And two, I won’t be staying long anyway.

Get in, get out, go home.

All around me, trees rustle in the feisty October breeze. I close my eyes and take in the sounds, breathing deeply. When I reopen them, I spot headlights coming down the hill, then a car turns out of my view and heads into the adjacent parking lot. Nerves flutter in my stomach. In a minute, Abraham—Bram—will be live in front of me again after all these years.

Around the corner of the station, a car door slams shut, and heavy boots step onto the wooden walkway leading to the building. I get my friendliest smile ready. “Hey, you.”

The sound stops. No one appears. But I heard someone. I know I did. “Hello?”

With my bags, I trudge to the other side of the station where the parking lot is. There’s an old blue Eclipse, ticking as its engine cools off in the chilly night, but no Bram. Maybe I should’ve asked what car he’d be driving. I call him, but it goes straight to voicemail—Greetings, I’m being held captive by an army of Amazons. Don’t try to find me. Beep…

“Hey. I’m at the station. Call me.” I hang up, about to text him, when another text comes in from Nina, my dad’s assistant, telling me the townhouse key won’t be available until tomorrow, so I should check into a Days Inn instead.

“Ugh.” Hell no. I’ll ask Bram if I can stay with him before I stay in some cheap motel by myself.

I’m a few letters into my reply when I hear it— “Lela.” A whisper.

Nobody calls me that anymore. Only Mami—my mom. Sometimes Bram did, a long time ago. To everyone else, I’ve always been Micaela or Mica. The chill in the air deepens. I pocket my phone and hug my bags tightly to fight off the cold. Suddenly, I hear something even weirder than the whisper—the clop of a horse’s hoof.

But why would… I smirk. Sleepy Hollow, boots, horseman. Okay, I get it.

“Cut it out, I know it’s you,” I tell the emptiness. It’s a small town. In small towns, people make up their own entertainment. And Bram Derant has always been king of entertainment around here. “Where are you?”

I head to the shadowy recesses behind the station, bracing for his surprise attack, but I don’t see him. Then, in on the breeze comes mumbling near my ear. I can’t understand what it’s saying. I swallow softly. The voices are back, torturing me again. Jesus, I’ve been here less than five minutes, and already, this town is haunting me.

“Bram?” I call out, even though I know it wasn’t him.

Nothing. Just wind, crickets, and tinkling chimes from somewhere nearby.

“Fine, I’m leaving, then.” I spin and hurry across the road toward Route 9. I still know my way around and will walk to Bram’s apartment if I have to, I don’t care. I think I hear soft footsteps behind me, but when I glance over my shoulder at the army of shadows I’m leaving behind, there’s no one.

Faster up the hill, away from the riverbank, I walk in the middle of the street. Visibility is higher here, away from stalkers in bushes and other hiding places. Wow. I’m really thinking like the city girl I’ve become. No one ever gets attacked in Sleepy Hollow in real life.

The smell of lavender, my mother’s favorite, fills my senses. I stop in my tracks. Mami? My ears strain to hear. On the street, a crumpled gum wrapper rocks in the wind. Moths dance beneath the dim street lamp, and assorted pumpkins sit on front porches like families gathered in the dark, telling ghost stories.

“Come out already!” I cry aloud.

In the distance, a dog howls a sad reply.

Then, from a side street, a low voice emerges. “Micaela Burgos, as bossy as ever.”

Even in the dark, I make out his wide smile, as mischievous as the day he sat in the corner of Ms. Sanstet’s Pre-K class for putting sand in my shoes. His hair has darkened since I last saw him, short on the sides, long on top. “God, you scared me.” My hand presses against my chest. Because he startled me, or because I’m seeing him again after six years? Not sure.

“Sorry. But finally, you’re here!” He pumps his fist in the air and emerges from the shadows into the cone of light cast from a nearby lamppost. I’m hit with the full picture I can’t quite get from his pics online. Wearing jeans and a black sweater, keys in hand, Bram makes his way down the street. He’s super gorgeous with wide shoulders, over six feet tall, and sigh, this will be tough.

“Thank you, thank you. My flight got in late, then I had to wait to take the next train, and…”

His dark brown eyes soak me in underneath heavy brows. He shakes his head.

“What? Why are you looking at me like that?” I ask.

“Nothing, you just…” He blinks a few times. That rascal smile.

I cock my head. “I just what?”

“You don’t look twelve anymore.” He laughs, letting out a low whistle. “Holy shit, Mica. You are one fine woman.”

I grin in spite of myself. Apparently, someone learned to flirt while I was away. “Uh, thanks.”

“You’re so welcome. And what’s this?” He gestures to my clothes and purse. His eyes land on the tag hanging from it. “MK? Code for Micaela?”

“Wow, really?” I shake my head. “Michael Kors?”

“Forgive me, Miss Burgos. I keep forgetting you’re a Miami girl now.” He glances down at his clothes. “And me in my Gap jeans and ten-dollar sweater.”

“Stop, you look fine.” Way more than fine. Hot. Pick-me-up-and-carry-me-straight-into-hell hot. But no. God, no. I can’t tell him that. I shouldn’t even think that. He’s good ol’ Abraham from back in the day, nothing more, nothing less. “You look…uh…great!” I say instead. “Just like your thousands of selfies.”

“Oh? I post too many, do I?” He clucks his tongue and makes silly duck lips. “As if you don’t post pics every day from your gleaming white mansion.”

Is that all I’m going to be while I’m here? The holes-in-her-Payless-shoes-turned-rich-girl? “Not a mansion. Just a house.”

“It’s nicer than where I live.” He raises an eyebrow, the funny-faced kid I remember poking through.

Ugh, I should’ve left the bag at home. Then again, it feels strangely satisfying being able to show that we’ve come such a long way. “Anyway…” I try not to feel his resentful jab. “Come help me with these bags already.”

His eyes chastise me.

“Please?”

“Hmm, I was waiting for the magic word.” Bram grabs my bags out of my tired hands, but instead of carrying them off to his car, he places them at his feet. Suddenly, his arms are enveloping me, my cheek against his broad chest. Bone-crushing, heartbeat-skipping, a nice…really nice hug. And hey, how about that? He bathes now.

God, he smells good. Like the woods by my old house after an autumn storm.

Still, it takes me a moment to melt into him. I’ve pushed this corner of the world out of my mind for so long, tried forgetting the pain, that I almost can’t give in. But some things are worth remembering. I allow my arms to wrap around him and lean into his solid body.

“There you go,” he whispers. Do not cry, I tell myself. Do not. “Sorry, Mica.”

“No, don’t. I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Okay.” His clean scent is laced with underlying familiarity. Another memory—us at Kingsland Point Park, by the lighthouse, the day I left. He’d told me he loved me, a pretty bold move for a twelve-year-old. It shocked me at the time. I’d pushed him away gently, not ready to feel that way, but now…

I pull back, reeling, pressing my sleeve against my eyes. “Were you the one sneaking around back there, scaring the crap out of me?”

“Me? I sneak not.” He lifts my bags again and hoists them onto his new muscle-man shoulders.

“Over there?” I point toward the station. “You weren’t going, Lellaaaa?”

“Nope, I just got here. They close the pickup/drop-off area after eleven, so I parked over there.” He points down a street. “Voices still torturing you, Mica?”

He always loved teasing me about my peculiar “talent.” I guess he still doesn’t believe I can hear them, whoever they belong to. “You’re in a blue Eclipse?”

“Black Accord. Mom’s old car. Everything okay?”

Black Accord? But then…who was walking around? I could’ve sworn… I rub my eyes and suck in a deep breath. After the sleepless nights I’ve had over the last month, it’s not hard to believe I might’ve imagined it all. “Fine. I’m just exhausted. Hey, is it okay if I stay with you tonight? Change of plans. My townhouse key isn’t ready for pickup.”

“Of course, Princess, you know you can. You’ll get to see our amazing palace. Let’s get thee off to bed! Your chariot awaits.” He struts off toward his car.

Princess. I say nothing about his new nickname for me, but he knows he’s hit a nerve.

He cocks an eyebrow back at me. “It was just a joke, Mica. I know you can take the girl out of Sleepy Hollow but not Sleepy Hollow out of the girl. Face it. This town is, and always will be, your home.” He pops the trunk and tosses my heavy bags inside like they’re filled with nothing but feathers. Then he rounds the car to open the passenger door for me. Before I have the chance to sit down, he kisses my cheek. “So welcome home.”

I give him a half smile then stare out at the quiet, sleeping town. Home. I don’t have the heart to tell him I stopped thinking of this place as home a long time ago. But if anyone can make me think of Sleepy Hollow that way again, it’d be Bram.

Especially now that Mami is dead.

 

author

Gaby Triana

GABY TRIANA is the award-winning author of six YA novels—Wake the Hollow (Aug. 2016, Entangled), Summer of Yesterday, Riding the Universe, The Temptress Four, Cubanita, and Backstage Pass, as well as thirteen ghostwritten novels for best-selling authors. Originally a 4th grade teacher with a Master of Science in Elementary Education and ten years teaching experience, Gaby earned Teacher of the Year in 2000, wrote her first novel, Freddie and the Biltmore Ghost, then left teaching to launch a full-time writing career. She went on to publish young adult novels with HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, win an IRA Teen Choice Award, ALA Best Paperback Award, and Hispanic Magazine’s Good Reads of 2008. She spends her time obsessing about Halloween, Christmas, and Disney World, as well as hosting parties, designing mugs, making whimsical cakes, and winning costume contests. When she’s not writing, she might also be watching Jurassic Park movies with her boys, posting excessive food pics on social media, or helping run the Florida region of the SCBWI. Gaby lives in Miami with her three sons, Michael, Noah, and Murphy. She has one dog, Chloe, and two cats—Miss Daisy, and the reformed thug, shooting survivor, Bowie.

Visit her at www.gabytriana.com and @GabyTriana on Twitter.