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I Belong

Blog Tour: Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen

July 29th, 2014 Kristie Posted in Blog Tour Comments Off

Lisa JensenPlease join us in welcoming author Lisa Jensen here today to Dark Faerie Tales. She joins us today with a behind the scenes look at her noval, Alias Hook, which is a reimagining of Peter Pan. The novel was released on July 8, 2014 from Thomas Dunne Books/Macmillan. Please check out Steph’s review below this post!

About Lisa:

LISA JENSEN is a veteran film critic and newspaper columnist from Santa Cruz, California.

Her reviews and articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Cinefantastique, Take One,

and Paradox Magazine. She has reviewed film on numerous area TV and radio stations. She also reviewed books for the San Francisco Chronicle for 13 years, where her specialty was historical and women’s fiction.

You can visit Lisa around the web here: Website | Blog | Facebook

Want to read more from Lisa Jensen?

Witch from the SeaAlias Hook

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The Story Behind ALIAS HOOK

My “day job” is writing film reviews for an alternative weekly newspaper in California. I was writing a review of a live-action Peter Pan movie in January, 2004; of the actor playing Captain Hook, I wrote that he captured “the tragedy of a grown-up Hook trapped forever in Peter’s eternal childhood.” Instantly, a caustic voice popped into my head observing the Neverland from Hook’s point of view. I hit ‘Save,’ clicked open a new doc and hastily typed in what is now the opening paragraph of the book:

Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile, which drags him down to a watery grave. Who could guess that below the water, the great beast would spew me out with a belch and a wink of its horned, livid eye? It was not yet my time to die, not then nor any other time. It’s my fate to be trapped here forever in a nightmare of childhood fancy with that infernal, eternal boy.

Sure, everybody knows about Peter Pan, the boy who won’t grow up, and his magical island paradise, the Neverland. But imagine if you were an adult trapped forever in a world run by prepubescent boys. That would certainly be my vision of Hell! And so I began to ponder the plight of Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends.

I’ve always liked Captain Hook better than Peter Pan; for one thing, he has much funnier lines! What, I wondered, had his life been like before the Neverland—as a child, a young blood about town, a gentleman privateer, a pirate? What on earth had he ever done to deserve this fate, designated nightmare to generations of storybook-reading children? So, long before I ever had a plot in mind, I was writing dozens of scenes from Hook’s perspective. It was more like transcribing, really, as he told me who he was and how he got there, sharing his observations on the Neverland and its inhabitants, commenting on his dire relationship to Pan, his history, his dilemma. It really was just like eavesdropping on a conversation (or a monologue); I don’t know any other way to describe it.

For source material on the Neverland, I went back to Peter and Wendy, James M. Barrie’s 1911 novelization of his famous play, and I was astonished at how much darker and more subversive it is than the familiar play; it’s about children but not necessarily for children. The fairies attend orgies (although Barrie, unlike me, is too discreet to include one), the pirates and Indians routinely slaughter each other for the boys’ amusement, and a strange, simultaneous adoration and fear of women—specifically, mothers—runs throughout the story.

But it also seemed to me that Barrie hardly even scratched the surface of the Neverland he created, with all its complex enchantments, so I thought it would be fun to delve beneath that surface and explore what life is really like for the fairy sisterhood, the merwives, and the Indian tribes. Let alone all those generations of former Lost Boys and Wendys who never quite fit back in the real world after they’ve been to the Neverland.

And so my plot finally started to take shape. The key to everything was a new character I invented, Stella Parrish, a grown woman who dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of the boy’s rules against “ladies.” From the erotic glamor of the Fairy Revels to the ceremonies of the First Tribes to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. In Hook himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain. With her knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be his last chance for redemption, even release—if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys can hunt her down and drag Hook back into their neverending game.

I once heard someone describe Homer’s The Odyssey as the hero’s “journey from the masculine to the feminine.” And I realized that Alias Hook has a similar narrative drive. My hero has to rise above the pointless war games perpetrated by the boys that have always oppressed him, overcome his rage at the world and his fear of the (mostly feminine) magical forces that govern the Neverland, learn to cooperate with his “enemies,” and risk everything for love, before he can earn his release.

It took me a long time to figure out Stella’s character. She was fairly inert through the first few drafts; she did what I told her, but she wasn’t yet a good match for James Hook. It wasn’t until I started letting her be funny—despite the tragic past that drives her to flee to the Neverland—that she came alive on the page. With Stella in place, Captain Hook finally has a chance to write himself a different ending. Alias Hook is a story of love and war, male and female, and the delicate art of growing up.

Excerpted from The Story Behind the Book, edited by Kristijan Meic and Ivana Steiner, 2013.

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Alias Hook Cover

Available July 8, 2014 from Thomas Dunne Books/Macmillan

About this Book:

“Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It’s my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy.”

Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.

With Stella’s knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook’s last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their neverending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Dwellers of Darkness by Stacey Marie Brown

June 30th, 2014 Kristie Posted in Blog Tour 5 Comments »

Stacey Marie BrownPlease welcome author Stacey Marie Brown here today! Our reviewer Kelly recently found this wonderful series and wants you to know all about it. The first three books in this series have been released. This new adult paranormal romance begins with Darkness of Light, Fire in the Darkness and Dwellers of Darkness. The fourth book, Blood Beyond Darkness, will be released in August. Want to know our thoughts on this series? Read Kelly’s reviews of Darkness of Light, Fire in the Darkness and Dwellers of Darkness by clicking on their titles.

The Dwellers of Darkness giveaway includes several prizes! Enter to win the first 2 books in the Darkness series with a Tote Bag, or win a signed copy of Dwellers of Darkness (or any other book in series) with a pouch. These two giveaways are US only. For the international giveaway, 5 winners will receive an eBook copy of any book in the Darkness series. Pictures will be provided below of the giveaway items.

About Stacey:

Stacey Marie Brown by day is an Interior/Set Designer, by night a writer of Paranormal Fantasy, Adventure, and Literary Fiction. She grew up in Northern California, where she ran around on her family’s farm, raising animals, riding horses, playing flashlight tag, and turning hay bales into cool forts. Even before she could write, she was creating stories and making up intricate fantasies. Writing came as easy as breathing. She later turned that passion into acting, living and traveling abroad, and designing. Though she had never stopped writing, moving back to San Francisco seemed to have brought it back to the forefront and this time it would not be ignored.

When she’s not writing she’s out hiking, spending time with friends, traveling, listening to music, or designing.

You can visit Stacey around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Stacey Marie Brown?

Darkness of Light (Darkness...Fire in the Darkness (Darkn...Dwellers of Darkness (Darkn...Blood Beyond Darkness  (Dar...Beast In The Darkness (An E...

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Dwellers of Darkness Tour Banner

Darkness of Light

Darkness of Light (Darkness #1) by Stacey Marie Brown

Available February 13, 2013

About this Book:

Freak. Witch. Crazy. Schizo.

Ember Brycin has been called them all. She’s always known she’s different. No one has ever called her normal, even under the best circumstances. Bizarre and inexplicable things continually happen to her, and having two different colored eyes, strange hair, and an unusual tattoo only contributes to the gossip about her.

When the latest school explosion lands her in a facility for trouble teens, she meets Eli Dragen, who’s hot as hell and darkly mysterious. Their connection is full of passion, danger, and secrets. Secrets that will not only change her life, but what and who she is—leading her down a path she never imagined possible.

Between Light and Dark, Ember finds a world where truth and knowledge are power and no one can be trusted. But her survival depends on finding out the truth about herself. In her pursuit, she is forced between love and destiny and good and evil, even when the differences between them aren’t always clear. At worst, she will incite a war that could destroy both worlds. At best, she will not only lose her heart but her life and everyone she loves. Once the truth is out, however, there will be no going back. And she’ll definitely wish she could.

Fire in the Darkness

Fire in the Darkness (Darkness #2) by Stacey Marie Brown

Available August 31, 2013

About this Book:

It’s been four weeks since Ember Brycin witnessed what her powers are capable of. The Electrical Current Storm has turned Seattle, Washington into a natural disaster zone. The death toll is in the thousands with countless others homeless and hungry.

And Ember is the one who caused it. Something she will have to live with every day.

Those people who were unable to escape either turned quickly into gangs or live in shelters. Ember, on the other hand, can’t do either. With a price on her head and a Dark Dweller on her ass, she is constantly on the move. Both Light and Dark are hunting her for their own purpose to use her as a weapon or a pawn in the war between the Unseelie King of the Dark and the Seelie Queen of the Light.

Em needs help but doesn’t know who to trust: Lars, the mystery man Torin told her to find? Torin, the Seelie Queen’s personal knight, who has sworn to keep Em safe? Or Eli, who wants to turn her over to the Unseelie King, but whom she has an undeniable, intense connection with?

No matter what she chooses she will probably lose—her life or everything and everyone she loves.

Dwellers of Darkness

Dwellers of Darkness (Darkness #3) by Stacey Marie Brown

Available February 27, 2014

About this Book:

Some days feel like years, but in Ember Brycin’s case just the opposite is true. She had only been in the Otherworld for a day or two when she returned back to the Earth’s realm. But it is three years later on Earth. Em is now 22. It would matter if she was human, but she’s not. She is a Dae, part Demon and part Fay, with a little Dark Dweller thrown in to make her even more of a freak.

Seeing Seattle rebuilt only confirms she has been gone three years. For her it was not long ago that the Seattle area was just rubble of concrete and death. All done by her hand.

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is her undeniable connection to Eli Dragen, who is sexy, gorgeous, and even more volatile and frustrating. But her problems go way past him. The Seelie Queen of the Otherworld still holds Mark, Em’s father, and her friends, Ryan, and Josh as hostages. Em needs to rescue them without, once again, getting caught and being used as a pawn to help the Queen regain possession of Earth. At the same time Ember is in hot water with Lars, the Unseelie King, after breaking her contract with him.

As some secrets have come to light others seem to become even more enigmatic. The only truth Ember knows is,everyone is harboring secrets. As Eli’s past is revealed, Em understands more clearly why he acts the way he does and how much their lives are intertwined. But she also knows Eli is holding something back, something that could change their relationship forever.

Em herself continues to wrestle with her feelings toward Torin and her own secret she’s withholding from Kennedy. As the tension for war mounts between the Seelie and Unseelie (Light and Dark), the tension at the Dark Dweller’s compound mounts even more as they prepare to obtain the sword no matter what the price. But is Ember the answer to the location of the sword? Is she the one to fulfill the prophecy? As usual nothing is ever what it seems.

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contest

This contest is provided by Stacey Marie Brown

Contest #1: Win 1st 2 book in Darkness series (signed) with Tote Bag

Dwellers of Darkness Giveaway2

Contest #2: Win a signed copy of Dwellers of Darkness (Or any other book in the series) with Pouch

Dwellers of Darkness Giveaway

Contest #3: 5 lucky readers will win an eBook copy of any book in the Darkness series

Dwellers of Darkness

Available February27, 2014 from Twisted Fairy Publishing

About this Book:

Some days feel like years, but in Ember Brycin’s case just the opposite is true. She had only been in the Otherworld for a day or two when she returned back to the Earth’s realm. But it is three years later on Earth. Em is now 22. It would matter if she was human, but she’s not. She is a Dae, part Demon and part Fay, with a little Dark Dweller thrown in to make her even more of a freak.

Seeing Seattle rebuilt only confirms she has been gone three years. For her it was not long ago that the Seattle area was just rubble of concrete and death. All done by her hand.

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is her undeniable connection to Eli Dragen, who is sexy, gorgeous, and even more volatile and frustrating. But her problems go way past him. The Seelie Queen of the Otherworld still holds Mark, Em’s father, and her friends, Ryan, and Josh as hostages. Em needs to rescue them without, once again, getting caught and being used as a pawn to help the Queen regain possession of Earth. At the same time Ember is in hot water with Lars, the Unseelie King, after breaking her contract with him.

As some secrets have come to light others seem to become even more enigmatic. The only truth Ember knows is,everyone is harboring secrets. As Eli’s past is revealed, Em understands more clearly why he acts the way he does and how much their lives are intertwined. But she also knows Eli is holding something back, something that could change their relationship forever.

Em herself continues to wrestle with her feelings toward Torin and her own secret she’s withholding from Kennedy. As the tension for war mounts between the Seelie and Unseelie (Light and Dark), the tension at the Dark Dweller’s compound mounts even more as they prepare to obtain the sword no matter what the price. But is Ember the answer to the location of the sword? Is she the one to fulfill the prophecy? As usual nothing is ever what it seems.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Perfect Kind of Trouble by Chelsea Fine

June 21st, 2014 Kristie Posted in Blog Tour 4 Comments »

Chelsea FinePlease welcome author Chelsea Fine here today! We are offering not one but two chances to win her newest novel Perfect Kind of Trouble! Check out the fun excerpt below! Perfect Kind of Trouble is a new adult contemporary romance and is the second novel in the Finding Fate series. It was released on June 17, 2014 from Forever/Hachette. Read Bridget’s review for Best Kind of Broken and Perfect Kind of Trouble by clicking on their respective titles.

Enter for a chance to win a digital copy of Perfect Kind of Trouble by Chelsea Fine. There will be two chances to win and the bottom of this post! These giveaways are provided by Grand Central Publishing.

About Chelsea:

Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She’s ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen. 

You can visit Chelsea around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Chelsea Fine?

AnewAwryAvow (The Archers of Avalon...Best Kind of BrokenPerfect Kind of TroubleRight Kind of Wrong (Findin...

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Perfect-Kind-of-Trouble-Blog-Tour

Excerpt

I reach Mr. Perkins’s office and quickly park before climbing out of the car in my high heels.

The inheritance really could be only twenty dollars—or less—and spending an afternoon chained to Daren Ackwood to find it could be a complete waste of time, not to mention horribly awkward given our romantic encounter last night, but it’s worth a shot. Because if it turns out to be a substantial amount of money, everything could change.

Not only could I go back to nursing school, but I could afford a decent apartment and buy myself some time to find a new job—one where my boss isn’t demanding I work for free or flash him in order to pay off my mother’s debt.

Ugh. My life can really only go uphill from where I’m at.

I know money can’t buy happiness, and I believe that. But it would be nice to be out from under Big Joe’s threatening thumb. And sleeping in a cockroach-free apartment while eating regular hot meals wouldn’t be bad either.

I hurry down the sidewalk toward Mr. Perkins’s office, tripping a little in my shoes. Maybe wearing the skirt and heels again wasn’t such a great idea. But I wanted to look professional and responsible, and the gray dress is too hot and the only other pair of shoes I own are my beat-up sneakers from last night. I didn’t think a pencil skirt and a pair of dirty sneakers really said I can be trusted with my deceased father’s money. So I went with the pumps.

I wobble as my shoe catches on a small pebble and curse under my breath.

High heels really are a bitch.

Up ahead, I see Daren round a corner and hurry toward the office, now just a few yards down the sidewalk. I relax a little, knowing he’s not there yet. As we near each other, my stomach fills with butterflies. I don’t know what I’m more anxious about—the inheritance or seeing Daren.

Best Kind of BrokenPerfect Kind of Trouble

We reach Eddie’s door at the same time.

“Good morning.” He smiles broadly.

“Morning,” I respond with a cheerful smile of my own.

Our smiles are exaggerated, like we’re trying to prove just how “okay” we are with the thing that never happened last night. Then our eyes meet in brief a clash of lust, and tension fills the air.

Daren is the first to break it. “So. You ready to do this?”

“I am,” I say.

The tension returns, but this time it’s laced with nervousness. We’re about to lock ourselves together. For money. The morning after we dry humped each other against a bar. It’s nothing less than weird and desperate. Which begs the question, why is Daren doing this?

I know why I’m subjecting myself to this craziness but I’m still not sure why Daren has agreed—especially without knowing how much money is at stake. Is he in it for the thrill? Is he just bored?

Whatever his reasons are, I’m grateful.

We enter the office and Eddie looks up from his messy desk, his glasses perched on his shiny head. Today he’s wearing a yellow button-up shirt with a plaid bow tie to match his plaid pants. The look suits him.

“You’ve returned,” he says brightly, standing to greet us. “I guess this means you’ve come to a decision about Mr. Turner’s letter?”

“We have,” I say.

Daren nods. “Yes.”

“Excellent.” Eddie clasps his hands together. “What have you decided?”

Daren and I exchange an anxious look. My stomach does a flip-flop, afraid he’s going to change his mind, but then he gives me a subtle nod and I nod back.

We turn to face Eddie, hold out our wrists, and at the same time say, “Cuff us.”

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contest

This giveaway is provided by Grand Central Publishing

Enter for your chance to win one of two copies of Perfect Kind of Trouble

Perfect Kind of Trouble

Available June 17, 2014 from Forever/Hachette

About the Book:

Sometimes when perfect falls apart, a little trouble fixes everything . . .

Twenty-one-year-old Kayla Turner has lost everything. After spending most of her life taking care of her ailing mother, she just wants to spot a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. So when her late father-a man she barely knew-leaves her an inheritance, she finally breathes a sigh of relief . . . until she learns the inheritance comes with strings. Strings in the form of handsome playboy Daren Ackwood, her father’s protégé. To see any of her inheritance, she’s forced to team up with him. From his expensive car to those sexy dimples, Kayla’s seen his type before. But Daren isn’t who he seems to be . . .

Struggling to make amends for his family’s mistakes, Daren has a life more Oliver Twist than Richie Rich these days. He’s beyond grateful that James Turner included him in his will, but working with Turner’s princess of a daughter to fulfill his cryptic last wish is making Daren wonder if being broke is really so bad. Still, she’s just as beautiful as she is stubborn, and the more time he spends with Kayla, the less it feels right being without her. Soon Daren and Kayla begin to wonder if maybe the best gift Kayla’s dad could have left them . . . was each other.

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Excerpt & Giveaway: Mended by Kim Karr

June 1st, 2014 Kristie Posted in Blog Tour 5 Comments »

Kim Karr_Author PhotoIf you are a fan of new adult romantic contemporaries, then you will love today’s excerpt and giveaway! The third novel in Kim Karr’s Connections series, Mended, will be released on June 3rd from NAL/Penguin. Read Bridget’s review for Mended here. For more of Bridget’s reviews on this series, read Connected, Torn, and Dazed.

One lucky reader will win a print copy of Mended by Kim Karr! This giveaway is provided by NAL/Penguin! This contest is open only to U.S. entries.

About Kim:

Kim Karr is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of romance, including her sexy New Adult romance series, Connections.  She describes herself as wearing a lot of hats–writer, book-lover, wife, soccer-mom, taxi driver, and the all-around go-to person of the family.  However, she always finds the time to read.  She believes in soul mates, kindred spirits, true friends and Happily-Ever-Afters, and loves to drink champagne, listen to music, and hopes to always stay young at heart.  Kim lives in Florida with her husband and four kids.

You can visit Kim around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Kim Karr?

ConnectedTornMendedFrayedFlawedPerfectedBlurred (Connections, #3.5)Dazed (Connections, #2.5)

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Excerpt from Mended

 Connections #3 by Kim Karr

© 2013 by Kim Karr

Published by the Penguin Group

Release date: June 3, 2014

Xander Wilde

The magic of rock and roll—it casts a spell on you. I’m no exception. I’m a band manager and I’m living the dream, touring with The Wilde Ones, helping them secure their well-deserved place in the music industry. I love being a part of it all, especially watching the band perform live—the crowds, the cheers, the music. It’s a high and a low all at once and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Every step of the way with this band has been fun, exciting, stressful—every possible emotion. Obviously we’ve had some breaks but mostly we all put in a lot of hard work—myself, Garrett Flynn, Phoenix Harper, River Wilde, and now Zane Perry.

“Can you hear me now?” he bellows.

I nod my head as my heart pounds in my chest. My hands feel cold and clammy and a nervousness that makes me weak and shaky takes over. Doubts race through my head and I’m questioning if he’s going to make it through this. A vague awareness that something bad could happen kicks around in my mind and I can’t shake it. The Wilde Ones are doing a sound check on stage and Zane’s not on his game.

It’s July and the weather has been brutally hot. But today it seems cooler. Maybe it’s the California weather maybe it’s the excitement of being home. The Beautiful Lies Tour bus finally rolled back into our home state of California after six months away. When we pulled into the amphitheater, we could see tanned kids in board shorts and bikini tops already lined up at the will call window. Security guards in polo shirts directed us to the artist parking lot, and we were officially home. Tonight we’ll be headlining our biggest show to date. We’re on tour without my brother, River, and still more than half of the shows are sold out, including tonight’s. River quit the band—touring just wasn’t for him but even so the album is on its way up the charts. Who knows it may even hit gold status. The songs on the album were written and sung by River but are performed in concert by Zane. Having him as my brother’s replacement has been the key to our successful transition in a world where replacing leads is normally unsuccessful—simply put, we’re lucky as hell to have him. River promised to make a surprise appearance at our next stop. It’s going to be epic.

But tonight is all about the arena—Mountain View and the Shoreline. “That’s enough,” I yell to the band and call rehearsal. This place is the biggest outdoor venue we’ve played and I couldn’t be more stoked—or more nervous. A sold out show and a rocking opening band—what a combination. But a lead singer with another cold and a weakened voice that can’t be heard throughout an amphitheater scares the shit out of me.

I head straight for the bus and spend the next few hours hashing out a song with Nix that he calls a jumbled mess of muscular sense and big-riff sunshine—whatever the hell that means. All I know is that it needs help and that’s why he’s turning to me. I hadn’t played guitar since I was eighteen but for some reason over the course of this tour I’ve picked it back up. At first I used whatever was lying around but last month I had my mother mail my old one to me and it feels like home. It’s a light blue and brown Gibson and I had to have it because it was the guitar that Slash played on. Playing again seems to help pass the time and brings a calm over me that I haven’t felt in awhile.

ConnectedTorn

Hours pass and before I know it, it’s almost show time. We make our way over to the Amphitheater, do the typical festival schmooze fest, and then settle back to wait. Waiting for them to take the stage is always the most nerve-racking time. I’m sitting in the practically vacant makeshift meet and greet area back stage and sipping a beer in a worthless effort to calm my nerves when a voice travels through the sound system. It’s a powerful and emotive mezzo-soprano range that is nothing short of explosive. She sounds unlike any singer I’ve ever heard before—with only one exception, Ivy Taylor. I push back the memory of her name and the emotions it evokes—the memories are just too  painful. I can’t see her on stage but I know that the voice belongs to Jane Mommsen. Her band Breathless is playing right before The Wilde Ones.

A hand on my shoulder startles me. I twist and glance up as Amy sits down beside me, crossing her legs. “Hi, Xander. I thought I saw you earlier at the hotel.”

She’s a beautiful woman—long, wavy dark hair, petite figure, very natural looking. She’s wearing jeans, a blue shirt with some kind of foil design, and silver sandals. Grinning at her I say, “Finally we catch up. Can I get you a drink?”

“I’d love that. How’s life on the road been?”

“You know, it has its ups and downs but actually not bad. You?”

“Jane’s been going full-force for a while now. But the tour ends with the summer. I’ll be glad to be back in LA.”

Standing up, I laugh. “I know the feeling. I’ll be right back, let me grab us that drink.” Tossing my empty bottle, I make my way to the coolers lined up under the tent and grab two beers. I know she’d rather have a glass of Chardonnay but beer it is. Amy is Jane’s assistant and I’ve taken her out more than a few times. We went to high school together and Amy and I know most of the same people so whenever I need a date, I ask her. Last time I saw her was almost nine months ago when I took her to River and Dahlia’s wedding.

Heading back to the table I hear Jane yell out to the crowd, “Are you ready for three of the hottest guys in music?” The audience starts screaming and the stage lights dim cuing the guys that it’s the fifteen-minute countdown until they take the stage. The band huddles together in their typical pre-performance stance. I’ll have a quick drink with Amy and then join them. As I hand her the bottle my fingers touch hers and we both grin, knowing that we will end up alone by the end of the night.

“You sticking around for the whole show?”

“I think I might,” she smiles.

“How about we ride back to the hotel together and grab a real drink at the bar?”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Great. Time for me to get back to work.”

She rises from the table, I do the same. She stands up on her toes and kisses me quickly on the lips. “See you tonight,” she smiles.

“Catch you later,” I say and then cross the room to join the band.

“You’re late,” Nix snickers. “What’s with you two anyway?” he asks.

I shrug my shoulders. “Nothing. We casually see each other once in a while.”

Garrett raises an eyebrow. “Chicks are never cool with casual.”

DazedMended

Shaking my head at him, I don’t bother to disagree. Amy and I have been doing this for years. It works for her and for me. We like each other’s company but only see each other sporadically. I’ll call her once in a while and we’ll go out but we are in no way exclusive. I don’t ask her about other men and she doesn’t ask me about other women. I grab the bottle and pour the amber liquid into the shot glasses stacked on the cap. It’s our pre-show routine. A shot and a prayer, so to say. It’s Garrett’s turn tonight to ‘pray’ so this should be good.

He raises his glass. “Here’s to hoping Xander gets laid so he’ll get off our backs.”

Tipping my glass back, I quickly down the amber liquid. It burns as it makes its way down my throat. Once we’ve all drank our two shot maximum before a show Garrett follows his toast up with, “Seriously man, you need to get laid.”

The guys laugh and I actually join in. Jerking off in the small bathroom on the bus is definitely one of the downsides of touring. I’ve slept with a few girls at some of our stops but screwing groupies isn’t really my thing. I’m not one to have time for a girlfriend but I’m also not about to pull my dick out backstage, so it’s been a long six months.

Zane coughs after he slings back the shot and I look at him with concern. “You’re going to a doctor tomorrow.”

He shakes his head. “Yes, Mom, if you say so.”

“I’m not kidding. Your voice sounds like shit.”

“It’s a fucking cold. I took some medicine. I’ll be fine.”

“Doctor. Tomorrow. I mean it. I’ll have Ena set it up.”

“I can always sing,” Garrett chimes in and I smack the back of his head.

“Hey. I can.”

The lights start to flicker and I look at Zane with that feeling of uneasiness again. Second time this tour he’s coughing and hacking. We’re screwed if he really gets sick. He nods at me as I pat him on the back. Slinging his guitar over his shoulder, he heads out first raising his arm in the air. The crowd goes crazy. The six foot guy is a chick magnet and no one misses my brother tonight. Garrett heads out next yelling, “Great to be here Mountain View!” and Nix follows with his trademark nod. Zane skips his normal charming banter and I know he must be saving his voice. Again, I think about how we’re fucked if he gets sick.

I stand at the edge of the stage all night until they finally come to their last song. “It Wasn’t Days Ago,” is a simple but crowd affecting ballad and Zane belts it out. Shouts from nearly thirty thousand fans call for an encore. Turning away from the microphone Zane coughs again. Biting his thumbnail he looks over at me and I slice my finger across my neck.

“One more song for tonight,” he tells the screaming fans and my blood pressure rises. “This one is a cover, an ‘ode to’ I’ll call it. It’s for Xander Wilde, the band’s manager and it’s his favorite song. Everyone ready?” As he starts to sing Linkin Park’s “Iridescent,” I close my eyes and listen. When he hits the chorus his voice gets so low my eyes snap open. Zane turns to grab a bottle of water while the guys continue to play but I can tell something isn’t right.

 

***

 

Last night definitely didn’t go as planned—a visit to the ER, then sleeping in a chair next to Zane all night on the bus because the steroids he was given freaked him out. It’s noon and Amy and I are just arriving at the Pelican Hill Resort. Breathless was leaving right after the show last night so Amy had already planned to ride with us and meet up with them in Irvine. She invited me to some party being thrown by her band’s label that I would have rather not gone to but Ellie, the tour manager, insisted we all go for the good PR.

I’m exhausted and really need some sleep before dealing with the press and tomorrow night’s show. The paparazzi have been everywhere—by the bus as we exited to the waiting car in LA, outside the doctor’s office, at the gates of Zane’s father’s house, and now they’re here in Irvine at the hotel.

To avoid the chaos awaiting us in the lobby, I call Ellie, who is already here, and ask her to check me in and meet me at the pool bar with the key. Draping my arm around Amy, we head that way. I’ve been here a few times so I know my way around. Cutting through the grotto and over to the pool and cabanas, I steer Amy to the right and stop in my tracks as all the air rushes from my lungs.

My body floods with adrenaline and my gut twists. I don’t even have to do a double take because I’d know her anywhere. There’s no mistaking her. She’s just so beautiful—the elegant planes of her face, those high cheekbones, red lipstick, her platinum blonde hair shorter than it used to be tucked behind her ear, that face of an angel. She looks the same. No, she looks better. Her skin glistens in the sun and my gaze automatically follows the shape of her long legs. They look smooth and tan against her white bathing suit. An ache forms in my chest as I think about running my fingers up them. She’s still that eighteen-year-old girl I once knew but now she has the body of a woman—lean and toned and full of curves. When she moves it’s so familiar it doesn’t seem like a day has passed—and everything I ever felt for her, it’s all still inside me.

BlurredFrayed

My pulse races at the mere sight of her. She’s lounging in the cushioned chair reading a magazine just outside a cabana. My heart slams harder in my chest when she sticks her earphones in her ears like she always used to do and it transports me back to the last time I saw her do the very same thing. We’d skipped school and were at my grandparents’ house—their pool. She was lying on the lounge chair listening to music and singing along—her voice so full of soul. I’d moved to sit with her under the guise of putting lotion of her back. She sat up and smiled that shy smile she didn’t need to have when she was with me. I squeezed the tube into my hand and after rubbing them together I slowly applied it to her back kneading my way up and down, touching every inch of her that I could.

It brings me back to the here and now when she suddenly sits up and looks over at me. Her eyes pin me in place. She looks at me as if she remembers me for who I was, what we were, not what I did to her. With my chest pounding, memories of us keep flashing through my mind. Fighting a smile, I wonder if she’s thinking the same thing—remembering what we were, what we shared, how we loved.

She quickly breaks our connection when she averts her eyes over to the man handing her a drink. I suck in a deep breath trying not to feel sick at the sight. He’s nearing fifty, wearing a terrycloth robe. He’s about my height, dark brown hair, meticulously groomed facial hair, and not exactly ripped but fit. He’s Damon Wolf, a man I’ve never actually met but hate all the same. I’ve seen their picture on TV and in magazines. He’s her agent, her fiancé, and I’m sure he’s the reason she’s not singing anymore.

She looks up at him with that same forced smile she used to give people she just wanted to appease and mouths “thank you.” I have a sudden urge to go over and deck him when her gaze shifts back to mine and he pulls her chin back to look at him. I can sense a discomfort between them. We could sense each other’s feelings even when we weren’t near each other.

Amy’s hand slides down my face and I have to blink a few times before I can hear what she’s saying. Glancing one last time at Ivy I see that she’s staring at me again. Then suddenly her mouth forms a scowl and she flicks her attention toward him. Hooking her arm around his neck, she pulls him down for a kiss and I think I might throw up.

“Are you okay?”

I nod. Not able to say a word.

“Isn’t that Ivy Taylor over there? The girl you used to date in high school?” Amy asks. There’s an irritated tone to her voice I’m not used to hearing and it makes me agitated.

“Yeah, it is,” is all I say. She’s not just a girl I used to date…she’s the only girl I ever really loved. She’s also the girl whose heart I broke. Seeing her now brings back all those feelings I blocked, ignored, tucked aside. So many times over the years I wanted to go after her and tell her the truth—but I never did. Why I don’t know. Then one day it was too late—she had gotten engaged.

Amy chatters on. “I think that’s Damon Wolf with her. We should go say hi.”

My body goes cold and my face blank at the thought. I straighten and just as I’m about to say, “No fucking way,” my phone vibrates in my pocket. Squinting at the screen, I see that it’s my brother. I look over to Amy and motion toward the bar. “Hey, this is River. I need to take it. I’ll meet you over there in a minute.”

“That’s fine. We can catch up with them later. I’ll go order us a drink.” She smiles and starts toward the bar.

Turning around to avoid staring at Ivy, I answer the phone. “It took you long enough to call me back.”

“I was in a meeting and stepped out as soon as I could, so don’t start. What did the doctor say about Zane?”

“He’s out for the rest of the tour and we’re fucked.”

“You sure? You’re back in LA for almost two weeks after tomorrow night right? Isn’t that enough time for him to heal?”

“Technically yes. But his old man wants him out. The doctor said that he couldn’t be sure how long the blood that accumulated under his vocal cords had been there but obviously last night, the amount of ruptured vessels was enough to cause his voice to change. He advised at least two weeks of rest before another evaluation to see if surgery is necessary. Zeak wants his son to take a longer period of time off. He’s just afraid that if Zane keeps singing and it keeps happening, scar tissue will build up and cause his voice to change forever.”

“Do you blame him?”

“No I don’t,” I tell River and I feel like shit that I have to put him in a position to do what he didn’t want to do in the first place. But I also know that if I don’t, the band won’t survive. If I have to cancel this tour—the Wilde Ones are done. So I ask, “Did you talk to Dahlia?”

He sighs. “Yeah, I did. She’s cool with it, Xander. I’m just trying to figure it all out.”

“You know I’ll do whatever you need me to do, right?”

“Shit why can’t you just be an ass and make it easy for me to say no?”

“Because you have no idea what this means to me.”

“Actually I do, and that’s why I’m going to make it happen. But Xander, remember I can’t play a twelve string.”

Laughter and relief take hold of me. I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. “Right now I wouldn’t care if you only played the violin,” I joke.

He laughs and I add, “You’ll be here tonight?”

Now he sounds slightly annoyed. “I said I would. We might be a little late so don’t get your panties in a wad.”

“That’s cool. Thanks for everything. Hey, one more thing.’

“What?”

“Ivy Taylor’s here.”

“No way. Have you talked to her?”

“Fuck no. You know she won’t talk to me. And besides she’s with that asshole.”

“You should talk to her. Tell her the truth.”

“What’s that going to do now? She’ll just think I’m lying.”

“You want me to talk to her? I can explain everything.”

“No. I don’t need my little brother to fight my battles. I’ll talk to her if I feel the time is right. Do you hear me?”

“Whatever you say. Look, I have to run but I want to discuss this later. And Xander…you don’t know he’s an asshole. Just because Dad said his name once doesn’t mean shit.”

“Right. Okay, see you tonight,” I say and end the call. My head is spinning knowing that after all these years I’m actually in the same place she is. I want to talk to her, tell her everything but what would it matter now anyway. Glancing behind me, I catch another glimpse of her with him that turns my stomach. He’s such a slime ball. Since his father was hospitalized and he took over the business, he’s been scooping up labels, tearing them apart, and rebuilding them with bands he thinks are better fits. My guess is he picked up Jane’s label—that’s why he’s here. I heard they were having some financial difficulty and he’s just the kind of bottom feeder that would want to capitalize on not only being her agent but now also her producer. The sight of him touching Ivy makes my skin crawl.

Damon Wolf—two of the last words my father ever spoke to me before killing himself, and I never knew why. Of all the guys in the world Ivy had to end up with him—why him? I look up and they’re gone. But I’m anything but relieved. Rubbing my chin, I’m antsy, agitated, pissed as hell, but feel more alive than I have in years.

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contest

This giveaway is provided by NAL/Penguin

One lucky reader will win a print copy of Mended

Mended

Available June 3, 2013

About this Book:

MUSIC HAS THE POWER TO HEAL ALL…BUT NOT ALL BROKEN HEARTS CAN BE MENDED.

Always in control, Xander Wilde considered life on the road to be a perfect fit for him. But when disaster strikes on the Wilde Ones’ latest tour, fate intervenes…and a newly single Ivy Taylor, the only girl he has ever loved, steps back into his life.

After moving past her painful breakup with Xander years ago, Ivy was poised to become the next big name in pop music…when suddenly she withdrew from the limelight—the same day she announced her engagement to her controlling agent, Damon Wolf.

Xander knows he should keep his distance. But once they’re on the road, he can’t resist pursuing her for a second chance. Yet a jealous Damon can’t let her go—and he’s keeping dangerous secrets that could destroy them all.

When the three of them come together, everything falls apart. But if Xander and Ivy can hold tight to the bond that connects them, they just might have a chance at reclaiming the powerful love they thought they had lost forever….

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Lovely & The Lost by Page Morgan

May 12th, 2014 Kristie Posted in Blog Tour 38 Comments »

Page MorganPlease welcome author Page Morgan here today for the first day of her The Lovely & The Lost Blog Tour! The Lovely & The Lost is the second novel in the Dispossessed series following The Beautiful & The Cursed. Page is here to discuss the churches that inspired the setting for the abbey that her characters live in. Want to know our thoughts on this series? Read Bridget’s reviews for The Beautiful & The Cursed and her review for The Lovely & The Lost by clicking on their titles.

A huge thanks to Page Morgan for today’s giveaway! One lucky reader will win 1 signed paperback of The Beautiful & The Cursed and a signed hardcover of The Lovely & The Lost plus signed swag!

About Page:

I’m the author of The Beautiful & The Cursed, a young adult novel about two sisters who, on their mission to find their missing brother, discover a veiled world of gargoyles and demons in the city of Paris. I’m currently writing the second and third novels in this series, which saps most of my brainpower. I live in New England with my husband and our three children, along with our ancient dog and arrogant cat, quickly sap the rest of it. I accept virtual gifts of coffee, chocolate, and cupcakes.

You can visit Page around the web here:

Website | Blog | Facebook | PinterestGoodreads

Want to read more from Page Morgan?

The Beautiful and the Cursed The Lovely and the Lost The Beautiful and the Curse... 

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Welcome to Gothic Paris

In the series The Waverly’s live in a beautiful abbey during the 1800’s in Paris.  There was just something about this setting that fascinated me so I asked Page to tell us what real life churches inspired her to create such an amazing home for these wonderful characters. Enjoy learning a little history and maybe you will now be able to better visualize what the abbey in the book looks like.

It can’t get any more Gothic than living in an ancient and derelict abbey, right? Especially one covered in stone gargoyles. I wanted a little creative license when it came to the Waverly’s new home, so instead of using an actual church in Paris, I decided to make L’Abbaye Saint Dismas an amalgamation of many Paris churches.

I took the twin bell towers and the insane number of gargoyles on my fictional abbey from the famous Notre Dame. It took over two centuries to build Notre Dame (the 12th through the 14th centuries) and its Gallery of Chimeras is home to the gargoyle that caught my imagination and inspired the Dispossessed series to begin with.

Notre Dame

(photo credit: http://www.notredamecathedralparis.com/notre-dame-cathedral-paris-photos)

I based the interior of L’Abbaye Saint Dismas on the oldest church in Paris, Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Built in the 6th century, it has an exciting history (fires, Viking attacks, gun powder explosions during the Revolution!) but it was the slim nave, the vaulted ceilings and the choir that I loved about Saint-Germain-des-Pres. It’s a little run down these days, but the fact that it’s still standing after so many centuries is impressive.

St. Germain des Pres

When I decided my character, Vander Burke was going to be studying to be ordained, I chose to have him at the American Church in Paris. It makes sense for him, considering he’s American. But in 1899 the gorgeous copper-topped church that stands today on the quai d’Orsay wasn’t there. Thank goodness I caught that historical blunder before the book went to print! Instead, Vander would have studied at the church’s original site on rue de Berri, off the Champs Elysees. Sadly, the church is no longer there and I wasn’t successful finding anything more than a short description of the building.

American Church

And while I didn’t use it at all in the books, I can’t talk about my favorite churches in Paris without mentioning the small but beautiful Saint Chapelle. Right on the Ile de la Cite, tucked away in the courtyard of what is today the Palais de Justice, this little chapel was built just to house the famed Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus. The stained glass windows are simply beautiful and impossible to describe. Even pictures don’t do them justice, though as you can see, I tried!

Saint Chapelle

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Thanks Page for visiting us today!

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contest

This giveaway is provided by Page Morgan!

One lucky reader will win 1 signed paperback of The Beautiful & The Cursed and a signed hardcover of The Lovely & The Lost plus signed swag!

The Lovely and the Lost

Available May 13, 2014 from Delacorte Press/Random House

About this Book:

For readers of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series comes the sequel to The Beautiful and the Cursed, The Lovely and the Lost finds the Waverly sisters in mortal danger and able to trust no one.

Ingrid and Gabby Waverly moved to France expecting a quiet reprieve from London gossip, but the truth they face in their new home has a sharper—and deadlier—sting.

Paris is plagued by an underworld of demons and gargoyles who all seem to want something from the Waverly girls. Saving Ingrid’s twin, Grayson, from the fallen angel Axia nearly killed them. And they’re still being hunted—only this time, demons aren’t their only predators.

Ingrid’s blood is special: it bestows the power to command gargoyles. It’s an ability no other human has, and in the wrong hands, it could be used to send her cursed guardian, Luc, and his fellow Dispossessed to extinction. There are those who will do anything to get Ingrid’s blood—and they see no value in human life.

The Alliance has vowed to protect the Waverlys, and a new gargoyle has been assigned to guard their abbey home alongside Luc. But no one can watch over Ingrid, Gabby, and Grayson all the time—which means the three must learn to fight for themselves.

Because darkness follows the Waverlys. And sometimes darkness comes in the form you trust the most.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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