Book Blitz & Excerpt: After the Curtain Falls by Ainsley Shay

Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 1:12 PM
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After the Curtain Falls by Ainsley Shay 
Publication date: January 31st 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Erik never had to be anything other than a freak…until now.

Two hundred fifty-three days is a long time to fake being normal when night after night you perform miraculous feats on stage in a freak show. Thousands have paid to witness the miracle, suspecting nothing more than a hoax. But it is very real and it is slowly destroying him. Erik is weakened to the point where he’ll stop performing and start going to school for the first time ever—in his senior year. His only goal is to rebuild his strength so he can return to the stage and perform doing what he loves most in this world. What he didn’t plan for was the appearances of beautiful Addison and mysterious Naya. Now, unfamiliar feelings and bizarre new friendships threaten to unbalance Erik’s future as a miracle-performing freak.

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Purchase (book is on sale for 0.99c during the blitz!): B&N | Amazon

Excerpt

   The moment is perfect to lean in and kiss her. And I badly want to put my hand on her cheek and bring my lips to hers.
     Addison looks at her wrist, my fingers still there. “I should go,” she says shattering my thoughts.
     I slide my hand from her wrist, along her palm, lingering on her fingertips with my own. Looking up into her eyes, I ask, Are you sure you want to?”
     She meets my eyes. “No.” Her voice whispers the simple word I was hoping she would say. “But they’re expecting me down there.” My stomach aches when she starts to get up. “Thanks for catching me when I fell.” She brushes the sand off her dress and walks through the wheat grass toward the shore.

 About The Author
 Ainsley Shay avoids insanity by living mostly in the fiction world. She believes surrounding herself with positive people, and strives for balance in everything. She owns more jeans with rips and holes than without; and has recently found the magic of patches. For her, reading or writing the perfect sentence is better than the smoothest piece of dark chocolate melting in her mouth. She is a deltiologist for pure enjoyment, not for the study of. She longs to move north one day, even though she hates the cold. (Go figure!) So, for now, she continues to live in warm south Florida with her incredible husband, three beautiful daughters, and two lazy cats. (We won’t mention the dog.)

Author Links: Goodreads | Blog | Facebook | Twitter




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Sofia T.

Review: Under the Moon by Rose J. Bell

Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 2:07 PM
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Under the Moon

by Rose J. Bell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fav Quote:

"When I'm alone bad memories catch up to me. But when I'm near you, it feels like you protect me from the bad memories"

Under the moon is the first book I read by Rose J. Bell and I can say that it won't be the last.

Selena is a wonderfull girl who endures a horrible accident. After losing someone she loved more than anything she lives with the memories. And as if the memories weren't bad enough she has to witness her loss every day just by looking in the mirror and the scars left by the accident.

Selena blames herself for the accident and feels she doesn't deserve to be happy. After the accident she has to care for her mother and brother by working the night shift. She has no life left or so she thinks...

When Selena meets Keenan, she feels that she doesn't deserve to be happy with anyone. Especially, somone like Keenan.

But Keenan isn't who Selena thinks he is. Keenan has his own guilt. After being involved in a horrible accident that took away someone he cared for and loved, he blames himself for it. So, he tries to help others in order to feel he's worth something.

When Selena and Keenan meet, they both know that they have to acknowledge the past and let it go so they can move forward. But can they really?

I really, really liked this book. I loved Keenan though. He was selfless and all he wanted was to see Selena smile again. He wants to show her that she's beautiful and to help her accept the past and move on. What he doen't count though, is him falling for her. Their relationship was amazing. They both had to live with so much pain and that made them stronger.

Under the moon is such a touching and emotional story. The characters were great, the story was incredible and it had a nice flow.

I totally recommend it!!!

**ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review**

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Sofia T.

Review: Scream For Me: A Novel of the Night Hunter (For Me #3) by Cynthia Eden

Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 1:51 PM
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Scream For Me: A Novel of the Night Hunter

by Cynthia Eden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fav Quote:"He’d love her, adore her, for the rest of their lives."

Scream For Me is the third book in Cynthia Eden's For Me series.

Even more intriguing than the last one Scream For Me follows Kyle and Cadence's story.

FBI agents, Kyle Mckenzie and Cadence Hollow are called to the small town of Paradox, Alabama when a young woman is kidnapped after her car breaks down on a small isolated road. For Cadence this is another case but for Kyle this case hits too close to home. This case is similar to one that Kyle knows too well. How could he not, when his 18 year old sister went missing in the same way fifteen years ago in the same town, on the same road, on the same date. But is Kyle ready to face the truth?

Kyle and Cadence's story is dark, unpredictable and highly addictive! They will both do anything to find the killer but are they ready to bocome the prey?

I really really liked this book. It had lots of twists and turns, it was filled with mystery and intrigue, there were many suspects and most of all it had a hero who was determined to uncover the truth once and for all! I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. It captured me from the first page till the last. Needless to say that I finished it in one sitting.

What I loved most about the book was the romantic aspect of it. I liked how Kyle and Cadence's relastionship seemed to flourish. Despite Kyle being secretive at fist, he finaly opened up to Cadence. He confronted his painful past and he stopped blaming himself for what happend to his sister. Cadence on the other hand, was a mystery herself. We knew nothing about her life and the reason she chooses to stay alone. But Kyle is patient, he knows what he wants, her loyalty, her trust, her heart. He will have everything or nothing!

I highly recommend this book. It has sooooo many twists and turns that you will never guess who the killer really is. He's always there, always watching, hiding in the dark wating for the right minute to reveal himself.

Note: This book is part of a series but it can be read as a stand alone

Read an excerpt

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Sofia T.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Past Imperfect (Perfect #2) by Alison G. Bailey

Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 2:42 PM
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Title: Past Imperfect (Perfect 2) by Alison G. Bailey

Age group: NA/Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cover designer:Robin Harper, Wicked by Design Photography by Abigail Marie, NON`PA*REIL photography

Scheduled to release: February 2014 Tour organized by: WordSmith Publicity

Book Description

In Present Perfect, Brad Johnson was sexy, cocky, rich and a complete Smurff**ker. He could afford anything he wanted and could charm any girl he set his eyes on. Everything was laid out in front of him, all for the taking except the one thing he craved and needed. A tragic event forces him to reevaluate his life. When he tries to change, will the people in his life let him move on from his past or will they constantly hold him to the life altering mistakes he’s made? Mabry Darnell is intelligent, ambitious, beautiful, and sassy. Secrets from her

past haunt the present causing her to question her actions in order to shield her heart and protect her life. From the moment Brad and Mabry met, their connection was strong, intense, and electrifying. Both knew they had found the one person who could satisfy what the other ached for. When their pasts collide with their present, will it prevent them from having a future together or will love be strong enough to conquer their demons?

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Links to the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble:


Alison’s Take on Mabry

The initial idea for Mabry was for her to be a female version of the old Brad. As the story developed so did the character of Mabry into something that surprised me. Past Imperfect started out to be only Brad’s POV, but after writing the first couple of chapters I realized Mabry had things to say. 

To me, Mabry is a strong and intelligent young woman who has seen a lot of tragedy in her life. She learned to cope as best she could with it, but never really addressed her problems. She chooses to keep people at a distance and stays in control of her life. There is a sadness about Mabry. She’s a lost soul trying desperately to keep her head above water. She’s a survivor, but also very vulnerable. Its never that she doesn’t want or need the connection with Brad. She does, but she’s scared. If she gives in, it opens her up to get hurt by another. When you’re hurt by another then the control is theirs, but when you hurt by your own actions, you stay in control. That’s Mabry.

GIVEAWAY
1-Kindle paperwhite, 5 signed paperbacks (US), 1- $25 Amazon gift card


About The Author
About the Author: Alison was born and raised in Charleston, SC. As a child she would create (write) additional scenes to TV shows and movies that she watched. She attended Winthrop University and graduated with a major in Theater. While at school she began writing one act plays which she later produced.

Throughout the years she continued writing and producing several one act plays, but then life got in the way and she hung up her pen for a while. At the end of 2012 a very talented author friend convinced Alison to go back to writing and see what happens. So she did and fell back in love with it. Present Perfect will be Alison's first self-published book. A few personal facts, Alison loves anything sweet, especially frosting, and is addicted to Diet Pepsi. Alison's philosophy: Don't let your obstacles define you. At times life can get pretty overwhelming, but with a great support system and a lot of humor you can get through them. If you have humor in your life your spirit stays strong and you can tackle anything. Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Sofia T.

Book Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: The Star Catcher (The Star Child #3) by Stephanie Keyes

Posted on Friday, February 14, 2014 2:36 PM
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The Star Catcher by Stephanie Keyes 
(The Star Child #3) 
Publication date: November 10th 2013 
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Magick and destiny intertwine as he fights to save his kingdom and the goddess he loves.

Her kiss…the feel of her skin…the beat of her heart…For seventeen-year-old Kellen St. James, each memory is marred by a single sentence on a lone strip of paper.

Cali has been taken…

Armed with an amulet that channels the ultimate power of Faerie, Kellen searches for his love. However, control of the amulet’s energy comes with a price, and Kellen soon learns that Cali’s captor has plans for the stone. With the threat of the Star Catcher’s evil looming above Kellen and his kingdom, he’ll have to free the Heart of Faerie and break the curse the binds the Children of Danu to the darkness. But before that, he has to find his real father, the king. No pressure, right?

Kellen and Cali will battle bewitched armies and unknown foes as they fight to stay together. Will Kellen embrace his immortal destiny? Or will his world, and the man he is fated to become, be destroyed by The Star Catcher?

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Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Excerpt 

“I thought I’d never see you again.” Cali’s voice sounded small. 

“There’s so much to tell you, I don’t even know where to begin.” 

“I know.” 

“Marry me. For real this time.” The words came out in a rush, but I’d never wanted anything more. I didn’t plan on being apart from Cali ever again. “No Faerie attacks, no fleeing the country.” I didn’t know how to sum it up properly. “Just be mine.” 

Cali smiled and pushed her warm body even closer against me. “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.” Her yeses jumbled together as we kissed again. “I will marry you. I will.” 

We had so much more to share, but I wouldn’t think past this moment, past today when I had Cali in my arms, finally, with our never-ending life lying ahead of us. I asked her to marry me. Promised it, in fact. I would keep my promise. Somewhere in the middle, I’d have to tell her the rest of what had happened. But today, in this infinitely glorious time, we were finally together again.

Giveaway

Individual giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blitz-wide giveaway

-1 Complete E-book Set of the Entire Star Child Series (INT)
-Multiple e-book Copies of The Star Catcher (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Author 

Stephanie Keyes has been addicted to Fantasy since she discovered T.H. White as a child and started drumming up incredible journeys in her head. Today, she's still doing the same thing, except now she gets to share those ideas with readers!

When she's not writing, Stephanie is also a graphic designer, international speaker, teacher, musician, avid reader, and Mom to two little boys who constantly keep her on her toes. In addition, she's best friend to her incredible husband of eleven years.

Mrs. Keyes holds an undergraduate degree in Business and Management Information Systems from Robert Morris University and a M.Ed. from Duquesne University. She is a member of the Society For Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), as well as a featured author in the global group of writers, Love a Happy Ending.com.

Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series, The Star Child, which currently includes The Star Child (September 2012) and The Fallen Stars (April 2013), both released by Inkspell Publishing. She is currently hard at work on the third book in the trilogy, The Star Catcher.

Author links:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter
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Sofia T.

Book Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: In Pursuit by Olivia Luck

Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 1:23 PM
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In Pursuit by Olivia Luck 
Publication date: February 11th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:

Eddie Neff needs space. Not the type that country stars croon about, but physical distance from her emotionally distant father and the tatters of a broken relationship. So when the opportunity to relocate her life and interior design business arises, the answer comes easily.

Adjusting to life with Claire, her gregarious new roommate, is more than simply testing comfort limits. With just one meeting, Eddie finds herself unable to resist the draw of Harris Grant, Claire’s brooding and overprotective older brother.

Harris doesn’t fit her idea of a safe relationship. He pushes Eddie to face her deepest insecurities and fears of abandonment. And Harris holds on to his own painful loss, unable to overcome personal demons.

Eddie and Harris must learn to conquer their internal struggles. But as they navigate their new love, outside forces fight to drive them apart.

Add to Goodreads

Purchase:
Will be found here come release day:
Excerpt 

That evening, I’m back in the apartment, running late. I’m rifling through my messy tote bag in the middle of the foyer, searching for my keys, when the door is yanked open and two tall, toned blonds in professional attire stand on the other side. Claire’s legs are shoulder width apart, like she is ready to strut down a runway. Her silky blue blouse is tucked into a slim black pencil skirt. At the bottom, her feet are hidden by designer shoes that probably cost as much as I pay in rent. He wears a tailored navy suit and a crisp white shirt. A gray tie is knotted carefully at his neck. In a word? Sex. Flutters of awareness ignite licks of desire down to my toes.

“Oh!” I gasp, dropping my bag on my foot in surprise, causing some of its contents to fling across the ground. “Ouch!”

“Is my little mouse clumsy?” Claire asks with a laugh.

The more I hear that nickname, the less I enjoy it.

“Quite,” I confirm. I drop down to my knees to pick up my things. Then I spot it, next to a pair of shiny mahogany loafers. A tampon rolled right out of my bag and landed conveniently next to Harris’ foot. I don’t think it’s possible for this moment to get more embarrassing, until he crouches down to retrieve my lost item. An elegant hand extends to pick it up, and he waves the offending sanitary device in front of me.

“This belong to you?” His voice is gruff, not an ounce of warmth in it.

“Yes, thank you,” I mutter. I swipe it from his grasp, and scramble around the wood floor to collect the rest of my belongings. Claire just barely muffles her laughter, but I can hear her short giggles, probably at my expense.

I right myself and smooth my shorts around my legs, knowing full and well that my cheeks are bright red. “Let me try this again. Hi, guys.” 

“Eddie, I’m Harris. I didn’t formally introduce myself when I saw you yesterday.”

I look up and up and up from where my eyes are trained at the floor and catch his gaze. His steel gray eyes meet mine and hold firmly. I want to turn away, but I’m trapped. He’s locked me in place with his sharp attention.

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 About The Author

Olivia Luck lives in the middle of America with her loving husband and her obsession with writing. She wrote her first romance novel at age eight. When she’s not reading, editing, or writing, you can find her in the kitchen learning to cook. Olivia loves to travel and spend time with her family. 

Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Sofia T.

Cover Reveal: All Lined Up (Rusk University #1) by Cora Carmack

Posted on 1:21 PM
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 ABOUT ALL LINED UP:

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated.

Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter.

And neither of them knows how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

“Laughter + heartache + hot sexual tension = the perfect Cora Carmack book.”

—Monica Murphy

Pre-Order Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble |iTunes

Cover Reveal Video



About The Author
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Author Goodreads | ALL LINED UP Goodreads


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Sofia T.

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: The Queen of Zombie Hearts (White Rabbit Chronicles #3) by Gena Showalter

Posted on 1:11 PM
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Today is the day! The cover of Gena Showalter's THE QUEEN OF ZOMBIE HEARTS is here! We're so excited to be able to share this with you as it joins an already stunning set! Ready to see it? Not quite yet lets take a look a the first two covers in the series!

First there was ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND...


Then came THROUGH THE ZOMBIE GLASS...


Now get ready to EAT YOUR HEARTS OUT!!!
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On-sale date: Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Add it to your TBR!  Goodreads

Pre-order your copy! AmazonBarnes & Noble

  Official book description:

I have a plan.

We'll either destroy them for good, or they'll destroy us.

Either way, only one of us is walking away.

In the stunning conclusion to the wildly popular White Rabbit Chronicles, Alice "Ali" Bell thinks the worst is behind her. She's ready to take the next step with boyfriend Cole Holland, the leader of the zombie slayers…until Anima Industries, the agency controlling the zombies, launches a sneak attack, killing four of her friends. It's then she realizes that humans can be more dangerous than monsters…and the worst has only begun.

As the surviving slayers prepare for war, Ali discovers she, too, can control the zombies…and she isn't the girl she thought she was. She's connected to the woman responsible for killing—and turning—Cole's mother. How can their relationship endure? As secrets come to light, and more slayers are taken or killed, Ali will fight harder than ever to bring down Anima—even sacrificing her own life for those she loves.

Giveaway

1 complete set of The White Rabbit Chronicles (first 2 sent as soon as the giveaway is over and the winner will get the first hardcover of book 3 when it's available!) 
US/Canada Only
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Author

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of the wildly popular White Rabbit Chronicles, the Angels of the Dark, the Lords of the Underworld, and the Otherworld Assassins series. In addition to being a National Reader's Choice and RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazine, and have been translated in multiple languages. She lives in Oklahoma with her family and menagerie of dogs, and truly believes love conquers all.

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Sofia T.

Book Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway: Savage Delight (Lovely Vicious #2) by Sara Wolf

Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 2:14 PM
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Light meets dark. Secrets meet truth. 

It's been three years, twenty-five weeks, and five days since Isis Blake fell in love, and if she has it her way, it'll stretch into infinity.

After a run-in with her mom’s ex-boyfriend, she scrabbles to remember what she’s lost to amnesia. Her ex-nemesis Jack falls deeper into a pit of despair, and his girlfriend Sophia does all she can to keep him to herself. But as Isis’ memories return, she finds it harder and harder to resist what she felt for Jack, and Jack finds it impossible to stay away from the only girl who’s ever melted the ice around his heart.

As the dark secrets surrounding Sophia emerge, Isis realizes Jack isn’t who she thought he was. He’s dangerous. But when Isis starts receiving terrifying emails from an anonymous source, that danger might be the only thing protecting her from something far more threatening.

Her past.

***This book contains language and sexual scenes, some of which may be unsuitable for younger readers.

***This is the second book in the Lovely Vicious series.

CHAPTER 1
Part 2
My life has become a series of people asking me if I’m better.
Except I’m sitting in a hospital bed with a massive bandage around my head like a turban. So no, I’m not better.
But people keep asking anyway because it’s how you show concern for someone you care about, I guess, but frankly a giant box of chocolate truffles and reign over a small kingdom would be acceptable stand-ins.
No school. No home. All I do is sit in bed all day and watch crappy soap operas in which people faint dramatically all the time. Like, damn. That shit’s an epidemic. I get so bored I try to mimic their faints except the nurses catch me and say stuff like ‘you have a head injury’ and ‘contrary to popular belief, the floor is hard’, or some nonsense, so nobody can blame me when I steal the nearest wheelchair and bolt down the hall at top speeds. NASCAR ain’t got nothing on me. Except the backing of huge corporations who give them money to go fast. But still. I’m twice as cool and my ride is pimped as hell – a worn-out shitstain on the seat from somebody’s dead someone and the stuffing pulled slightly out of the armrest.
“Good evening, chaps!” I nod at two interns. They shoot each other looks but before they can call security, I’m blazing around the corner at warp speed.
“Bloody good weather we’re having!” I smile at a man sitting in his bed as I pass his open room. He cheerily returns my greeting with a resounding “Go to hell!”.
I round the next corner and come face-to-face with Naomi, my nurse. Her hair’s back in a strict bun, her face angry and worried and tired all at the same time.
“’Ello, love. Fancy a cuppa?”
“You’re not British, Isis,” Naomi says.
“I can be things,” I insist. 
“Yes, well, unless those things include a person who is lying in bed recuperating, I don’t want to see them. And I especially don’t want to see them wheeling around the hospital like a madman.”
“The madman is back that way,” I jerk my thumb behind me. As if to prove it, a loud “FUCK!” reverberates. Naomi narrows her eyes and points at my room.
“Back in bed. Now.”
“Why you gotta be like that?” I sigh. “We can work this out. There can be bribes. Of the monetary kind. Or maybe not monetary. Do you like adventures? I’m full of those. I can give you at least nine adventures.”
“You’ve already given me one for the day. If you don’t get back in bed, I won’t let Sophia in after her check-up.”
I gasp. “You wouldn’t!”
“I would!”
I start to faint dramatically, but she catches me with her meaty arms and plops me in the wheelchair, pushing me back to my room. I grumble the entire way. In the doorway, I crawl out on my hands and knees and fake-sob, collapsing into bed.
“Oh, quiet, you drama queen.” Naomi chides, and closes the door behind her.
“Drama empress!” I yell. “I prefer the title empress!”
My room’s quiet. Too quiet. I huff and cross my arms and blow bangs out of my face. I need a haircut. And an escape plan. But looking fabulous while escaping is somewhat required, so I’m putting one before the other.
I grab my phone and text Sophia.
DEAD PROTEIN IS TRYING TO EAT MY EYES. BRING THE SHARP POINTY THING.
Her text comes seconds later;
You mean the thing you threatened that male nurse’s balls with?
I sigh contentedly at the reminder of my own past brilliance. I’m so lucky to be me. 
Yes. That.
She sends one smiley face; :D
Sophia and I are the youngest people in this hospital, discounting the kid’s ward, and they don’t let you in there unless you’re a doctor or a parent or you have permission, which is really hard to get. Which is why I use the windows. I hate jello and it’s all they give you at meals so I hoard the jewel-like cups and give them to the kids like a gelatin-laden Santa and it’s a big hit. Not so much with the nurses. And security officers. Regardless, Sophia and I make sense. Since the day we met at lunch a few weeks ago and I gave her my apple, I’ve felt like I’ve known her forever. Being with her is like a massive, run-on déjà vu. When she first told me her name, I blurted; “Oh! You’re Sophia!” like it was a huge revelation. She asked me what I meant by that, and I searched long and hard in my own sizeable brain and couldn’t find a reason. I’d just said it, without thinking, and I didn’t really know why. I still don’t know why.
Besides that tiny bump in the road, she and I have been getting along famously. You can tell because A. she hasn’t run away crying yet and B. she always ends her texts to me with a smiley. Only people who like you do that. Or people who want to secretly murder you. But really, I don’t think someone as delicate and beautiful as Sophia would want to murder someone, unless she wanted to be like, beautiful and delicate and bloodthirsty, which, I’m not gonna lie, would add to her considerable mystique –
“Isis,” Sophia says from the doorway. “You’re thinking out loud again.”
I whirl to face her. She’s in a floral sundress, with a thick, cozy-looking sweater. Her platinum, white-blonde hair is kept thin and long, like strands of silver. Her milk-white skin practically glows. To offset all her paleness, her eyes are ocean-deep and navy-dark. In one hand she carries a book, and in the other –
“Scissors!” I crow. “Okay, okay, deep breaths everyone. Because I’m about to say something mildly life-changing.”
Sophia inhales and holds it. I point at her.
“You’re going to cut my bangs!”
She exhales and fist-pumps. “I’ll chop them all off.”
“Soph, soapy Soph soapbutt, we have only been together three weeks and I love you dearly, like a sister, like we are deer-sisters frolicking in the woods, but this is extremely vital to my well-being and I am trusting you with my life.”
“Ah, I see,” Sophia sits on my bed, giving me an understanding nod. “You keep all your vital organs in your bangs.”
“As well as all my future prospects with Johnny Depp. So you realize how important this is to me.”
“Obviously.”
“I am quite serious.”
“Deadly.”
“It’s not like you can make me look any less hot, since that is impossible, but generally speaking don’t fuck up.”
She runs her fingers through my wild bangs. “Straight across?”
“Uh, you’re the fashionable expert here. I just sort of throw on things that don’t have holes in them and hope for the best. I read a Cosmo once on the toilet. Does that count?”
“Depends on how long you were on the toilet.” Sophia brushes my bangs with her fingers experimentally.
“Years. They talked about face shapes. Like, do I have a square face? A heart-shaped face?”
“Definitely heart-shaped.”
“Really? Because I was thinking more that-one-unfortunately-misshapen-Skittle-in-the-bottom-of-the-box shape.”
Sophia laughs. “Just hold still, and close your eyes. I promise I won’t disfigure you for life.”
There are the soft sounds of snipping and Sophia’s gentle fingers, and then she tells me to open my eyes. I leap out of bed and dash into the bathroom. The age-stained hospital mirror reflects a short-banged girl, her slightly-faded purple streaks gracing her forehead. A single bandage wraps entirely around the base of her skull. She looks tired, old. Her face contains two volcanic eruptions on her chin, one on her nose, and bags under her eyes that’d make Coach jealous. And something’s wrong. Something deep inside the girl is wrong.
Ugly.
“What’s the matter? Don’t like it?” Sophia comes up behind me. In the mirror, she practically radiates pale, waifish beauty, and I’m…
“No, I love it. You did great. Fab. Baf. Nothing’s wrong! Absolutely zero. Absolute zero. It’s kind of chilly in here, isn’t it?”
I run back to the bed and burrito myself in the blankets. Sophia follows, sighing.
“If you don’t like it, you don’t have to lie.”
“No, I do! Shit, I really do. Sorry. It’s not that, it’s – other stuff. Stuff from before I came here.”
“Ah.” She settles on the foot of my bed. “The hard stuff. The stuff the hospitals can’t heal.”
I nod. Sophia’s gaze isn’t piercing, but something about it has weight, gravity, like she’s decades older than she seems. I haven’t told her about Nameless, mostly because she doesn’t need to know when she already looks so sad all the time. She hasn’t told me anything about her past, either, and it’s better that way. I can tell she’s had it worse than me. 
“Was it a boy?” She asks, finally.
“Yeah.”
She folds her hands over each other, like a dainty lady. The nurses gossip about her; the way she’s been in the hospital for five years, the way she has no family – her mother and father died in a car accident, and her grandmother raised her, but she passed a few years ago, leaving Sophia all alone in the world. Mostly they gossip about the boy who comes to visit her – Jack, the same guy who happened to see our house door open and saved me and Mom from Leo. Infuriatingly good-looking, and an infuriatingly good Samaritan, he apparently visited her a lot. But since I came, he hasn’t come at all. He’s sent letters to Sophia (letters! In this day and age!), but he hasn’t come personally. The nurses love to gossip about that, too. I scream politely from across the room correct them whenever I can; I don’t know him! He barely knows me! I’m indebted to him, sure, but there’s nothing going on and there never will be because duh – all boys who aren’t Hollywood actors with prestigious pirate acting careers are gross!
“I’m sorry,” I blurt.
“For what?”
“For your boyfriend. He’s…he’s stopped coming around since I came, and if it’s because of me, I’m sorry, and I know that’s arrogant to think, but the nurses blab and I can’t help but think –”
She pats my hand and smiles. “Shhh. It’s okay. They don’t know anything. He’s just busy is all. He works a lot, and he has school.”
“I have school,” I grumble.
She plops the book she brought down on my lap. “And you have seven chapters of The Crucible to read if you wanna catch up before you go back next week!”
I contemplate seppuku, but after remembering how big the medical bill for a cracked head is, I refrain. Mom’s having a hard enough time paying without me adding spilled organs and general death to the list. Besides, I can’t die yet. I still gotta thank Jack properly. Dying before you pay someone back is just plain rude.
“I don’t wanna go back to school,” I say.
“Yes you do.”
“I totally do. It’s a snoozefest in this place.”
“Then we better get reading.” Sophia smiles. I groan and roll over, and she starts reading aloud. She enjoys torturing me. Or she’s just happy to have someone here with her. I can’t decide which. We might get a long great, but she’s still a huge mystery to me. Me! The queen empress of deducing what people are all about! I study her face, her hands, her dress as she reads. Everyone in the hospital knows Sophia, but no one knows what she has, exactly. The nurses don’t like to talk about it. I asked Naomi and she glared and told me it was under doctor-patient confidentiality. Sometimes Sophia stays in her room for ‘treatments’, and those last for days. She doesn’t limp or cough or vomit, and no bandages or stitches are on her. Except for the fact she’s so pale and thin and sometimes complains she has migraines, she’s perfectly healthy as far as I can see.
“Soph,” I interrupt. She looks up.  
“Yeah?”
“I know this might be super invasive, and historically invading has been pretty bad overall, but I don’t think I can physically contain my curiosity any longer. Or, I could. But I’d like, implode the star system from the stress. Why are you in the hospital?”
Sophia slowly closes the book. “You really don’t remember, do you?”
“Remember what?”
Her eyes dampen with sorrow. She stares out the window for a long time before sighing.
“What?” I insist. “What is it?”
Sophia looks back at me. “Oh, nothing. It’s just sad, is all. I’m sad for him. He was so happy, for a while.”
I wrinkle my nose, and before I can explode with the demand for answers, Sophia starts talking again.
“I have the same thing you have.” She taps her head with one finger. My mouth makes a little ‘o’.
“You…split your head open like a melon, too?”
She laughs, the sound like bells made of crystal. “Something like that.”
I look over at the bag she brought. A bunch of romance books crowd it, various clones of Fabio flashing their brooding frowns on every cover as a scantily dressed female is in the inevitable process of fainting on a rock somewhere nearby, preferably directly beneath his crotch.
“Why do you even like those? Aren’t there just like, princesses and kissing and misogyny?” I wrinkle my nose. Sophia shrugs.
“I don’t know. I like the princesses.”
“They’ve got great dresses and fabulous hair and loads of money. Kind of hard not to.”
“I suppose I like the way the stories always end happily. Since…since I know my story won’t end as happily.”
My heart twists around in my chest. She sounds so sure of herself.
“H-Hey! Don’t talk like that. You…you’re the closest thing I’ve ever met to a princess. Like, a real life one. Minus the tuberculosis and intermarrying. And like, beheadings.”
Sophia laughs. “You’re a princess too, you know. Very brave. And noble.”
“Me? Pft.” I buzz my lips and a delightful spray of saliva mists the air. “I’m more like…more like…I guess if I was in one of those books I’d be like, a dragon.”
“Why?”
“It just makes more sense!” I smooth my hair. “Fabulous glowing scales. Beautiful jewel-like eyes.”
“Wings for arms?” Sophia smirks.
“That’s a wyvern! Dragons have wings independent of their limb system! But I forgive your transgressions. I’ve encountered a bit of heartburn today and am not in the mood to eat a maiden like you in the slightest.”
“What would you do as a dragon?”
I shrug. “You know. Fly around. Collect gold. Fart on some townspeople.”
Sophia is quiet for a moment.
“But I still don’t get it. Why does a dragon make sense for you?”
“Think about it. I’d just make a badass dragon. I mean…nobody really likes the dragon. You get to be alone, in a cool quiet place. As a princess everybody likes you and you gotta be in the middle of hot sweaty balls all the time.”
Sophia raises an eyebrow.
“Ballroom…balls. Dances. Uh.”
She laughs that chime-laugh, and I can’t help the laugh that bubbles up, too. I sound like a donkey.
“And I mean,” I add. “You know. Dragons never have to worry about. Um. What I mean is, princes don’t fall in love with dragons –”
Ugly.
“ – they fall in love with princesses –”
Did you think that’s what this was? Love? I don’t date fat girls.
“ - so it makes more sense, you know?”
“Isis?” Naomi pokes into the room. “Let’s go. It’s time for your session with Dr. Mernich. Hi Sophia.”
“Hello,” Sophia says, and smiles at me. “You should go.”
“Ugh, no thank you. Mernich’s going to ask about my feelings and frankly I’d rather swallow a centipede than talk about those things. Or become a centipede and crawl away. Can I become a centipede? Do they allow that in America -”
“Isis,” Naomi says sternly.
“- you can become a certified lightsaber maintenance engineer in America, so I really think you should be allowed to become a bug - ”
“Arthropod,” Sophia corrects.
“ – arthropod, and Naomi! My, what big hands you have. The better to grab me with, am I right? ACK, gently, woman! I’m damaged goods!”
Naomi steers me out of the room, Sophia cheerily waving after us.

Did you miss part 1 of Chapter 1 from SAVAGE DELIGHT?
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About The Author

Sara Wolf is the author of ARRANGED, a college-aged romance series centered on an arranged marriage. She’s currently working on her next New Adult romance series. She’s addicted to the Vampire Diaries, loves chocolate and romantic angst, and can’t get enough of damaged heroes.


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