by Elana K. Arnold
Young Adult Contemporary/Paranormal
Growing up on Catalina Island, off the California coast, Scarlett Wenderoth has led a fairly isolated life. After her brother dies, her isolation deepens as she withdraws into herself, shutting out her friends and boyfriend. Her parents, shattered by their own sorrow, fail to notice Scarlett’s pain and sudden alarming thinness. Scarlett finds pleasure only on her horse, escaping to the heart of the island on long, solitary rides. One day, as she races around a bend, Scarlett is startled by a boy who raises his hand in warning and says one word: “Stop.”
The boy—intense, beautiful—is Will Cohen, a newcomer to the island. For reasons he can’t or won’t explain, he’s drawn to Scarlett and feels compelled to keep her safe. To keep her from wasting away. His meddling irritates Scarlett, though she can’t deny her attraction to him. As their relationship blossoms into love, Scarlett’s body slowly awakens at Will’s touch. But just when her grief begins to ebb, she makes a startling discovery about Will, a discovery he’s been grappling with himself. A discovery that threatens to force them apart. And if it does, Scarlett fears she will unravel all over again.
Steam filled the bathroom as I soaked, shampooed, buffed, and scrubbed. I treated my body as if it were a machine, something that needed regular servicing to keep running. I barely registered the temperature of the water on my skin, only noticed that it was too hot when my thighs turned bright red. I had to focus for a moment before I could decide if I felt pain . . . yes.
I turned up the cold water and watched as the red skin faded to a more normal-looking pink. Then I scrubbed my head, hard, and worked the shampoo into a thick lather before rinsing.
My hair fell like a veil, reaching past my shoulder blades, halfway down my back. I tugged out the tangles in it, trying to remember the last time I’d really brushed it . . . I must have looked pretty interesting that afternoon on the trail.
As I thought of Will Cohen and the strange encounter we’d shared, a flush of warmth spread across my cheeks. Suddenly I was all too aware of the sensation of the water on my skin, working out the tension in my shoulders, streaming down my back, rivulets caressing the backs of my thighs . . .
My body felt as if it might be waking from a long, deep sleep. On the one hand, this might be a good thing. The numbness I’d strived to maintain throughout the summer couldn’t go on forever, after all. On the other hand, the thought of my pain overwhelming me as it had those first few weeks after Ronny’s death . . . Perhaps numbness had its advantages.
About the Author
ELANA K. ARNOLD completed her M.A. in Creative Writing/Fiction at the University of California, Davis. She grew up in Southern California, where she was lucky enough to have her own horse–a gorgeous mare named Rainbow–and a family who let her read as many books as she wanted. She lives in Long Beach, California, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. She is represented by Rubin Pfeffer of the East/West Literary Agency. Sacred is her debut novel.
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3 Winners will receive a Signed Copy of Sacred by Elana Arnold.
1 Winner will receive One poster, One Bookmark, and One button of a Surprise Art by James Vallesteros.
10 Winners will receive One bookmark of a Surprise Art by James Vallesteros.
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