Category Archives: promo
Brie picked the wrong guy—gave him the
When her fiance walks out three weeks before their wedding, she slowly picks up the pieces with the help of her friends. A serial monogamist, she’s not quite ready to start dating again. There are some things she misses about having a boyfriend, though. Her friends convince her to try something more casual.
Random hookups have never been her thing. When a guy she has flirted with for a while offers his services to solve her dilemma, she can’t help but be intrigued. Now she’s trying to keep things casual, but when she’s wrapped in his arms, it’s hard to remember she’s not supposed to be falling for him.
Max has had a few hookups since he split with his last girlfriend. Lately, though, he feels like something is missing. He has crushed on the girl he affectionately calls Cheese for years, but the timing was never right. When he finds out they’re finally single at the same time, he is poised to make his move. Unfortunately, she’s only looking for something physical. Of course, Max is happy to oblige, but the more time they spend together, the more certain he becomes that she’s the perfect girl for him.
He pulls out all the stops, and just when he’s about to make his move from the friends-with-benefits zone to serious dating, Brie completely ghosts on him. Now he has to figure out if she has really walked away, or if something more serious is keeping him from the girl of his dreams.
Funny, sexy, and satisfying, The Dating Alternative is a standalone new adult/contemporary romance.
As I lay on the bed, wearing my ex-fiancé’s t-shirt and remembering the night he left me six months ago, I realize that tears are slipping silently down my cheeks.I’ve done reasonably well, too. The first week, I was catatonic. The first month, I was practically a zombie. In those days, even showering on my day off had been a challenge. Within a couple of months, though, I was doing better. By the ninety-day mark, I could be mistaken for someone who hadn’t been virtually left at the altar.Now, lying on the bed six months after Grant had thrown away our life together, I was almost indiscernible from a normal girl. Looking at me most days, you would never know that my life had been ripped apart by an exotic Olympian named Isabel and my former fiancé, Grant.I sit up, realizing how far I’d come since that night. I put the back of my hand up to one cheek, then the other. No more. That asshole doesn’t get another single tear from me. Control-G-Delete.
Beneath the Lighthouse
by Julieanne Lynch
SOME SECRETS ARE MADE TO BE UNCOVERED.
Sixteen-year-old Jamie McGuiness’s sister is dead. Sinking into a deep depression, he frequents the lighthouse where her body was discovered, unaware of the sinister forces surrounding him.
When an angry spirit latches onto Jamie, he’s led down a dark and twisted path, one that uncovers old family secrets, destroying everything Jamie ever believed in.
Caught between the world of the living and the vengeful dead, Jamie fights the pull of the other side. It’s up to Jamie to settle old scores or no one will rest in peace—but, first, he has to survive.
Julieanne Lynch is an author of YA and Adult genre urban fantasy, crime and contemporary romance books. Julieanne was born in Northern Ireland, but spent much of her early life in London, United Kingdom, until her family relocated back to their roots.
Julieanne lives in Northern Ireland, with her husband and five children, where she is a full-time author. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at The Open University and considered journalism as a career path. Julieanne has several projects optioned for film.
Julieanne is both traditionally and independently published.
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– Winner will receive a $25 Dollar PayPal/Amazon Gift Card.
This Christmas Eve… no creature was
Except, maybe, a mouse.
At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse?
For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of
the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the
extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel Viscount.
But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing
contraptions, and one…special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of
Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest
dreams. But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse?
Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice, Anton, is handsome as he is mysterious. But
what is it about him Clara finds so alluring?
Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara
Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’
Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war,
redemption, and Christmas magic.
PROLOGUELarge, white puffs floated all around me. Sinking into my flesh with their cold, yet light kisses. Every snowflake
was different, specially crafted before it fell from the sky. They were beautiful, even as they melted. I tipped my head back to catch the snow as it fell. I felt as though I was floating through air, caught in a haze of ice flakes as sugary and sweet as the icing on the gingerbread house my governess and I had made together.I stretched my arms out to my sides, spinning in place.The green forest turned with me, a wood full of large spruces perfect for Christmas trees. They were decorated as such, lighted with white candles and draped in silver tinsel. On some, icicles hung on the tips of the limbs. It was a world in which the snow was like sugar and the air smelled delicious, like freshly baked cookies. It was perfect—a world of my own making, if I was capable of crafting something so… wonderful.“Clara…”The sound of my name trilled from a distance, carried on the cool, winter wind.Turning slowly, I peered over my shoulder, catching a glimpse of a young boy my age. He was dressed in a bright
red suit, adorned with golden epaulettes. His blond hair was brushed away from his face, revealing two bright blue eyes. His lips, pink as his cheeks, curved into a smile.“Clara…”“Yes?” I asked curiously, turning to face him. As I slid my hands over my cream and ivory lace nightgown, I suddenly
felt quite foolish. My mama had always insisted I never wear my bedclothes in front of guests or visitors. And yet, here, in this strange and beautiful world, such things hardly seemed to matter. He took my hand and flashed another
warm smile as he led me to a large, white carriage.“Where are we going?” I asked softly, pausing before the door. The panels were solid ivory, adorned with a golden
handle and step.“Winter Dream,” the boy said with a relieved expression. “Home. Home to Winter Dream.”“Winter Dream?”“I’ve come to take you back, Clara. To where I am—to where all the people who love you live.”“But I don’t know where this Winter Dream is. I’ve never been there…”“Come with me,” he beckoned, squeezing my hand gently. “Come. . .”The snow fell all around us; small flakes clung to the tips of our hair and eyelashes. As much as I longed to go .
. . there was something holding me back. Something. . .As I peered behind me, a small, dark shadow began to form. It started out small, like the size of a mouse, and it
grew—or was I shrinking? The boy beside me held my hand, and his eyes grew wide with fear.“No!” I screamed, tucking myself into his shoulder. Whatever it was, I didn’t want to see. I didn’t want to know.“Clara, wait!” I heard him beg, his urgent tone tugging at my heartstrings. “Come with me, please.”“No! I want to go home!”As soon as the words poured from my lips, I woke with a start.Here, there was only me and the four walls of my bedroom. A sheer sliver of light crept through the space of an open curtain, sparkling with the bright white of the snow outside. It was quiet, as if the world had not yet woken. As if I was the only one no longer dreaming sweet things. Instead, while everyone else slept, I contained the chill of my
own strange dream.I buried myself beneath the duvet and hugged my knees to my chest. I was alone, completely and utterly alone.I closed my eyes tight, not wishing to face that Christmas morning. I wished only for the chance to slip back into my
dream. To return back to that magical world, where a boy with bright blue eyes was waiting for me. Back to the place where an enchanting land called ‘Winter Dream’ existed.
“The Songs in Our Hearts” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and
“Allerleirauh” with Parliament House Press, with future titles to follow.
Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today.
The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig
by Don Zolidis
Janesville, Wisconsin (cold in the sense that there is no God)
The worst thing that’s ever happened to Craig is also the best: Amy. Amy and Craig never should’ve gotten together. Craig is an awkward, Dungeons & Dragons-playing geek, and Amy is the beautiful, fiercely intelligent student-body president of their high school.
Yet somehow they did. Until Amy dumped him. Then got back together with him. Then dumped him again. Then got back together with him again. Over and over and over.
Unfolding during their senior year, Amy and Craig’s exhilarating, tumultuous relationship is a kaleidoscope of joy, pain, and laughter as an uncertain future-and adult responsibility-loom on the horizon.
Craig fights for his dream of escaping Janesville and finding his place at a quirky college, while Amy’s quest to uncover her true self sometimes involves being Craig’s girlfriend and sometimes doesn’t.
Seven heartbreaks. Seven joys.Told nonsequentially, acclaimed playwright Don Zolidis’s debut novel is a brutally funny, bittersweet taste of the utterly unique and utterly universal experience of first love.
She laughed again. “You know what I’m saying?”
“Sure,” I said, realizing I had zoned out again and she had probably said something important. “It’s just like . . . ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.’ By T. S. Eliot.”
“Well, yes, but I think that’s more about alienation than anything else, and what I’m talking about is acceptance. Like,
Prufrock can’t accept that he’s changed and the world is becoming different, you know?”
“Yup,” I said, crossing it off in my notebook. Shit.
You’re probably beginning to understand why I wrote down things to talk about.
“I think my favorite line,” I said, looking down at the rest of my notes, “is ‘I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me.’”
“Aww,” she said. “Why?
I smiled into my pillow. I hoped she could see it too. “Because that’s how I used to feel before I met you.”
“I’m singing to you,” Amy said into the phone. “Except I really suck at singing.”
“I think the singing is metaphorical.”
“Maybe they’re like the Sirens. Luring lonely poets to their doom. And really they’ve got teeth like knives and will rip you to shreds if you come too close.”
“That pretty accurately describes my love life up to this point.”
“I’m sure it’s not that bad.”
“It’s pretty bad.”
“Oh come on.”
Amy was my first girlfriend. Well, okay, there was Jessica Southern, my junior year, who I went out with for nine days. We kissed once, and then she decided that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. Which it probably was. So, twelve days into my first relationship with Amy, we had already lasted exactly 33 percent more than my previous record (yes, I had done the math).
About the Author
Originally from Wisconsin, Don Zolidis is a novelist and one of the most-produced playwrights in America.
His 102 published plays have received more than 12,000 productions and have appeared in every state and 64 countries.
His first novel, The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig, will be published by Disney-Hyperion in October 2018.
He currently splits time between Texas and New York and aspires to owning a dog.
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3 winners will win a finished copy of THE SEVEN TORMENTS OF AMY & CRAIG, US Only.
The Stranger Game
by Peter Gadol
A literary suspense novel in which an eerie social game goes viral and spins perilously—and criminally—out of control.
Rebecca’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ezra, has gone missing, but when she notifies the police, they seem surprisingly unconcerned. They suspect he has been playing the “stranger game,” a viral hit in which players start following others in real life, as they might otherwise do on social media. As the game spreads, however, the rules begin to change, play grows more intense and disappearances are reported across the country.
Curious about this popular new obsession, and hoping that she might be able to track down Ezra, Rebecca tries the game for herself. She also meets Carey, who is willing to take the game further than she imagined possible. As her relationship with Carey and involvement in the game deepen, she begins to uncover an unsettling subculture that has infiltrated the world around her. In playing the stranger game, what may lead her closer to finding Ezra may take her further and further from the life she once lived.
A thought-provoking, haunting novel, The Stranger Game unearths the connections, both imagined and real, that we build with the people around us in the physical and digital world, and where the boundaries blur between them.
“The Stranger Game is a sharp-toothed commentary on the ways in which ‘following’ can foster a pretense of intimacy between strangers, and how the falsity of this intimacy—its utter lack of substance—often creates a perilous hunger for more: more access, more communion, more knowledge. It’s also a fun, moody, twisty thriller, with a sun-touched, West Coast vibe…as much Joan Didion as Patricia Highsmith.” —Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins
“‘Following’ gets a whole new meaning in Peter Gadol’s stylish psychological thriller set in the future of the day-after-tomorrow. A moody, increasingly dangerous house of mirrors where the rules morph as his players become more obsessed with ‘the stranger game.’” —Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and The Revolution of Marina M.
“The Stranger Game is a gripping and nuanced novel that asks whom we trust and why. It is about being an insider and an outsider, about being watched and, finally being truly seen.” —Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and No One is Here Except All of Us
About the Author
Peter Gadol’s seven novels include THE STRANGER GAME, SILVER LAKE, LIGHT AT DUSK, and THE LONG RAIN. His work his been translated for foreign editions and appeared in literary journals, including StoryQuarterly, the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, and Tin House. Gadol lives in Los Angeles, where he is Chair and Professor of the MFA Writing program at Otis College of Art and Design. Visit petergadol.com for more info on his work.
Death by the River
by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor
Some truths are better kept secret.
Some secrets are better off dead.
Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.
And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.
The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The star quarterback of the football team. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.
He is also a psychopath.
A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.
As the victim toll mounts, it becomes crystal clear that someone has to stop Beau Devereaux.
And that someone will pay with their life.
WARNING: Readers of Death by the River will encounter situations of violence and sexual abuse which could be upsetting.
About the Authors
Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, CRRN, ONC, PhD, is a multi award-winning author of over twenty-five novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured animals. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. Weis writes paranormal, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance.
Lucas Astor, Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight. He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.
– 1 Winner will receive a Signed Copy of DEATH BY THE RIVER by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor
White as Silence, Red as Song
by Alessandro D’Avenia
Hailed as Italy’s The Fault in Our Stars, this Italian bestseller is now available for the first time in English.
“I was born on the first day of school, and I grew up and old in just two hundred days . . .”
Sixteen-year-old Leo has a way with words, but he doesn’t know it yet. He spends his time texting, polishing soccer maneuvers, and killing time with Niko and Silvia. Until a new teacher arrives and challenges him to give voice to his dreams.
And so Leo is inspired to win over the red-haired beauty, Beatrice. She doesn’t know Leo exists, but he’s convinced that his dream to win her over will come true. When Leo lands in the hospital and learns that Beatrice has been admitted too, his mission to be there for her will send him on a thrilling but heartbreaking journey. He wants to help her but doesn’t know how—and his dream of love will force him to grow up fast.
Having already sold over a million copies in Italy, Alessandro D’Avenia’s debut novel is considered the Italian The Fault in Our Stars. Now available in English for the first time, this rich, funny, and heartwarming coming-of-age tale asks us to explore the meaning—and the cost—of friendship, and shows us what happens when suffering bursts into the world of teenagers and renders the world of adults speechless.
About the Author
Alessandro D’Avenia holds a PhD in Classical Literature, and teaches Ancient Greek, Latin and Literature at a high school in Milan. White as Silence, Red as Song was his first novel,published in Italy in 2010. It sold a million copies in Italy, has been translated into over twenty languages and was released as a film in 2012. Alessandro has since published four more books, the latest of which, Every Story is a Love Story, was published in October 2017.
A Room Away from the Wolves
by Nova Ren Suma
Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.
Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave…
In the Dark
When the girl who lived in the room below mine disappeared into the darkness, she gave no warning, she showed no twitch of fear. She had her back to me, but I sensed her eyes were open, the city skyline bristling with attention, five stories above the street. It was how I imagined Catherine de Barra herself once stood at this edge almost a hundred years ago, when the smog was suffocating and the lights much more dim, when only one girl ever slept inside these walls of stacked red brick.
I was with my friend, if she could be called a friend, on the rooftop that night, close enough to pull her away or slip a word into her ear, close enough to push. I saw how far the gate was, how long the jump would be to reach it. I was there to witness how she flew.
It was dark, and I blamed the darkness. For those few moments, when she was midair and not even kicking, I practically became her. I grew her long legs and longer eyelashes, I lost the jumble of knots in my hair, I let the mistakes spill out of my suitcase and scatter without a care into the wind. I was falling, and falling fast. There was a hum in my ears like a song leaking through floorboards. The windows on the way down were all lit up, every one, people I didn’t know living their private lives inside as if no one could see. The skyline above sparkled the way stars used to at home, and I didn’t want to ever hit ground. I was someone here. I was someone.
Maybe that was what she saw, what she felt, what this house turned her into. She was out there beyond the ledge with nothing beneath her feet. She was high enough to clear the gate many times over. I swore she was out there. I swore the air had her, the night had her, the lights cast a ring all around her, and then the patch of darkness was empty.
I could see past where she’d been, as if I were sailing straight over buildings, beyond spires and scaffolding, past roof gardens and water towers, down through Lower Manhattan to the southern tip of the island, where the gleaming black bay took over. I saw the whole city spread out before me, sinister and strange and perfect. The air was clear, and she wasn’t in it. No girl was falling or flying. Every window was dark. And how oddly quiet it became, like a patch of forest where no person had set foot for what felt like days upon days.
When I remembered where I was, I crept closer to the edge, gripping the bricks to stay steady, and I did what I knew she wanted.
I leaned out into the vacant night—the air boundless, feathery gray, and blooming with possibility—and I looked down.
About the Author
Nova Ren Suma is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Walls Around Us, a finalist for an Edgar Award. Her new novel A Room Away from the Wolves is forthcoming September 4, 2018, from Algonquin. She also wrote Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone and is co-creator of FORESHADOW: A Serial YA Anthology. She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in the Hudson Valley, spent most of her adult life in New York City, and now lives in Philadelphia.
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—Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
– 1 Winner will receive a Copy of A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma
– 1 Winner will receive a $25.00 Amazon/PayPal Gift Card.
by Tracy Barrett
Sixteen-year-old Clancy Edwards has always been “the good girl.” Ever since her mother died in a skydiving accident when Clancy was young, Clancy’s father has watched her like a hawk. Between her dad’s rules and her boyfriend’s protectiveness, she’s longing for an escape this summer. Then she meets Denny.
Denny is a new skydiving student and college freshman. Clancy lets Denny think they’re the same age–and that she’s old enough to make decisions for herself. But the lies snowball, relationships are damaged, and suddenly Clancy isn’t the person she wants to be. If only making choices were as simple as taking a leap out of a plane. Before Clancy can make things right, one last act of rebellion threatens her chance to do so–maybe forever.
Jumpers try to avoid reserve rides, even though every instructor reminds students, “When in doubt, whip it out.” It’s not only the expense of paying a rigger to repack the reserve. Reserves open fast, and the hard opening can give you whiplash, but it’s not the discomfort either. The main thing is that jumpers are superstitious. If you dump the reserve and it malfunctions too, you’re sunk. Nowhere to go. Reserves just about never malfunction, and the odds against both the main and the reserve malfunctioning are astronomical, but still. . . .
So my mom had tried everything to clear the main. She did exactly what you’re trained to do, exactly what I’d heard my dad and Leon and Noel and Randy and Louisa and Patsy tell their students: “If the pilot chute or the main canopy gets stuck, you have to break the burble.” So she flipped over. It didn’t work, so she flipped back to cut away, so the canopy would fly away cleanly. She had no way of knowing that the AAD would fire at precisely the wrong moment, making the two chutes—the main and the
reserve—snag each other, and that neither one would open.
I watched to the end, seeing the pink canopy and the white one wrap around each other, making a big nasty barber pole that didn’t slow my mom down enough to make a difference. Then, when Angie dropped the camera, the ground came up, up, up to the camera lens, and then—whomp. And the screen went black. Was that the last thing my mom saw? The ground coming up, and then nothing? What did she think about in those last seconds? Did she think of me? Of my dad?
After I went to sleep, I saw it over and over again, only sometimes she cut away sooner and sometimes she cut away later. But no matter what she did, it ended the same way, with the camera thumping on the ground and the sounds of screaming and crying.
I woke up when my dad got home, and I wanted to ask him to come sit by my bed until I fell asleep again. I wanted to tell him about how Theo was acting weird and how confused I was about Denny—about whether he was just a DZ friend or whether he was interested in me (and whether I was interested in him), and what I should do about it if he was. Or I was. I wanted to confess that I’d driven the car on Travis day and had done just fine.
I couldn’t. He’d ground me forever. Anyway, he wasn’t the sit-by-the-bed-until-you-fall-asleep kind of dad, and even if he were, once I got started, I’d tell him about watching the video. And seeing that we hadn’t talked about my mom’s death ever, not even once, I couldn’t do that.
Copyright © 2018 by Tracy Barrett
About the Author
Tracy grew up near New York City, and went to college in New England and graduate school in California. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree with honors in Classics-Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers and won the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Work-in-Progress Grant in 2005. She taught Italian and other subjects at Vanderbilt University for almost thirty years. She has two grown children and lives in Tennessee with her husband and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of FREEFALL SUMMER and Swags (signed bookplate and a silver skydiving pendant) by Tracy Barrett.
The Leading Edge of Now
by Marci Lyn Curtis
Just when Grace is beginning to get used to being an orphan, her estranged uncle suddenly comes forward to claim her. That might have been okay if he’d spoken to her even once since her father died. Or if moving in with Uncle Rusty didn’t mean returning to New Harbor.
Grace once spent the best summers of her life in New Harbor. Now the place just reminds her of all she’s lost: her best friend, her boyfriend and any memory of the night that changed her forever.
People say the truth will set you free, but Grace isn’t sure about that. Once she starts looking for it, the truth about that night is hard to find — and what happens when her healing hurts the people she cares about the most?
There’s a moment when I do not breathe, when my heart rate goes volcanic, when the distance to Rusty’s house seems so wide and so impassable that it will take me hours to scramble back.
Owen is staring at me, eyebrows crashed together like he’s trying to solve a particularly difficult crossword puzzle. It’s an expression I know well, seeing as how I’ve spent half a lifetime watching him stand in the garage, gazing at his projects as though he were unraveling the greatest mysteries of the universe.
I want to turn around and run.
I want to slap him.
I want to burst into tears.
What I do, though, is stare at him. He looks the same now, only different. While his dusty blond hair has been cut short, his eyes are the same — still clear emerald-green, big and serious, with lashes as long as palm fronds. He’s probably grown a full two inches since I last saw him, and he’s broader across the chest. On his right forearm is the small diagonal scar he got back in the third grade, when he tried to build a birdhouse for an endangered owl. I always considered that scar one of the things that made Owen Owen. But now it looks misplaced, inappropriate. I have to resist the urge to try to scratch it off. I close my eyes, like maybe I can erase his presence that easily. But he smells so familiar — like sawdust and coffee and soap — that this particular action only makes him more real.
I open my eyes again.
Owen plucks the headphones out of his ears. “Grace,” he says slowly, like he’s trying to remember how my name is pronounced.
Now would be the proper time to speak. But I’m pretty sure that my mouth has been blown apart and then reattached backwards and inside out, a couple of miles north of my vocal cords. So I just continue to look at him.
A few decades pass.
I clear my throat. It sounds like an old, brittle floorboard, creaking under bare feet. “You’re here,” I say, which is quite possibly the stupidest thing I could’ve said to him. Twenty-some-odd months of dreaming about getting even, and now all I can do is state the obvious.
About the Author
Marci Lyn Curtis is the author of young adult dramedies THE ONE THING and THE LEADING EDGE OF NOW. She lives near Tampa, Florida with her husband. You can find out more about Marci on her website (marcilyncurtis.com), on Twitter (@Marci_Curtis), on Instagram (@marcilyncurtis), or on Facebook (marcilyncurtis).
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3 winners will win a finished copy of THE LEADING EDGE OF NOW, US Only.