If you register your pre-order for either the paperback or eBook edition of ENIGMA, the sequel to Anomaly, before Friday, June 30th, 2017 11:59 pm EDT, you will be entered to win a rad swag pack while supplies last!!!
Fill out this form an email us proof that you have pre-ordered the book (a screenshot/picture of the receipt or order confirmation), and you’ll be eligible to win a swag pack, including a signed book plate as a FREE gift! AND the first 20 to fill out this form and show proof will receive a custom vinyl decal of the dragon eye symbol that is important to the Oculi in the Resistance as a FREE gift!
(US only. Tonya will hold a special “international only” giveaway soon.)
To register your pre-order:
1. Fill out this Google Form HERE
2. Email your proof of purchase or receipt as an attachment to email@example.com.
Have any questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a response.
The first 20 pre-orders will also get a custom vinyl decal of the dragon eye symbol featured in Anomaly and Enigma that is so important to the Oculi in the Resistance. (Reid’s tattoo)
If you want an extra entry into the giveaway for the Enigma Nerd Basket,
enter through the Rafflecopter widget below!
Thank you to my amazing fans, family, & friends for being so supportive!
Are you ready to see the cover or Enigma, the long awaited sequel to Anomaly, releasing July 4th, 2017??!!!
Take a peek then hop over to Young Adult Book Central where they gave the first look at the cover, my thoughts on the cover, and are hosting a GIVEAWAY! You can enter to win an e-arc (electronic advanced reader copy) of Enigma PLUS a signed copy of Anomaly!!
What do ya think?
OMGuardians of the Galaxy! I LOVE it!
Head over to YABC to enter the giveaway!!! —> HERE
ENIGMA, the sequel to my young adult scifi novel ANOMALY, releases 7/4/17!
Read below for an ENIGMA sneak peek!
~blurb & chapter 1 reveal~
Updated blurb for ENIGMA:
Worst. Road Trip. Ever.
Escaping with Reid Wentworth should have been fun, but how can I enjoy it when I just (accidentally) killed someone, my mom and brother are in danger, and the Consortium is trying to enslave humanity? (Yeah, they aren’t fooling around.) So feeling something for Reid Wentworth was not part of the plan. Trying to help unite the Resistance against the Consortium means I can’t be distracted by hot boys.
The Resistance secret hideout isn’t exactly the rebel base of my dreams. A traitor there wants me dead, but we have no idea who it is. And with both the Resistance and the Consortium trying to control me, the only one I can trust is Reid. If we’re going to have any chance of protecting my family, controlling my unstable powers, and surviving the clash between the Oculi factions, I’m going to have to catch this traitor. By using myself as bait.
Three days ago, I killed someone. A dozen times a night, and every time I close my eyes, I see his body convulse as the bolt of lightning I Pushed struck his body. I still see Santos’s face contorted in pain before he sinks under the surface of the water.
I opened my eyes after brushing my hair and swept my toiletries off the faux-marble counter into my backpack. Stepping out of the bathroom, I scanned the rest of the room for my belongings. My bra lay on the floor where I’d dropped it the night before, next to the paisley bedding. It had been beyond embarrassing shimmying that thing off under my shirt when I was right next to my hottie bed-mate.
I plopped my backpack on the bed and grabbed my blue bra. It was still dangling from my hand when the door leading to the parking lot swung open and Reid smiled at me from the threshold.
Perfect. Of course he walked in at this exact moment.
My face flashed with heat. I scrambled to stuff my garment into my bag, but the clasp hooked on one of my bracelets. Working the clasp off my bracelet took way more effort and time than it should have. The stupid thing was stuck. I peeked up at Reid to see if he was still looking at me. Wrinkles formed in the corners of his eyes as he coughed into his hand. He looked over his shoulder as he pretended to hack up a lung to camouflage a laugh.
Sharing the motel room with Reid, my trainer in charge of my safety, was convenient and safer. But him being my kind-of-sort-of-boyfriend also meant I was hyper-aware of personal stuff, like the time I spent showering or Reid catching me staring at him constantly. I mean, we shared a bed and were definitely into each other, but he’d never seen my bra before – on or off.
He’d now witnessed me wrestle with my undergarment – and lose. Which was both slightly embarrassing as his trainee and absolutely mortifying as his kind-of-girlfriend.
Reid looked at me, his brows pulling up in sympathy. He crossed the tiny motel room in three strides and stopped beside me. His warm hand touched my wrist as he studied the clasp and gently unhooked it from my bracelet. He caught my lacy bra before it fell to the bed.
Reid Wentworth was touching my bra, and my boobs weren’t even in it. What were the odds of that?
He’d worked my bra better than I had. How exactly had he gotten his bra-handling knowledge? The thought made me break into a full-body sweat.
Reid turned to face me. “I just turned in the room key. Cohen, my contact from the Hub, called while you were in the shower. The Hub gave us the green light to a safe house outside Flagstaff. We gotta pack ASAP and get on the road. They want us there before nightfall.”
I sat on the bed. “I’ll be ready in three minutes. I think I’ll miss this room, though.” We’d only spent one night, but something about it felt more secure than our two previous stops.
My bra was still in his hands. I yanked from him. “Thank you.”
“I’ll help you with your bra anytime. Just say the word.” He winked.
I wanted to hide.
“Wait.” He pulled his duffle to the bed. “You’ll miss the mustiness of a 70s motel in need of a major facelift?”
With the bra safely tucked away, I bent to lace up my boots. “I know, it’s weird, but I like this place.”
He walked into the bathroom and came out with his toiletries. “You like the wood paneling, the shaggy Muppet carpet, and an air conditioner that’s louder than my bike?”
I peeked toward the rattling air unit. Despite the jolting noise, the curtains floated gracefully above the machine like paisley ghosts.
The room seemed more hidden than the other places we’d stayed, nestled in the woods somewhere in New Mexico. We drove highways instead of interstates all the way from Florida to stay under the radar, but I still felt exposed, afraid someone would see us. Now the mountains and trees gave me a sense of coverage, of safety.
I tied up my other boot. “Yeah, it’s old, but I like it.”
Hiding, tucked away in a dark room, I could almost pretend I hadn’t murdered another human being. Being around people reminded me that I was dangerous, that I was an incomprehensible monster. Maybe I was keeping others safe if I was hidden.
A loud, deep buzz sounded, drilling into the recent memory of gunfire and weapons, of people dying. My heart paused and I dropped to the floor, kneeling behind the bed.
Reid strode to the bedside table where his phone buzzed, but his wide eyes watched me, worry etched on his face.
Duh. Way to jump to conclusions. Chill out, Josie. I forced myself to stand.
The phone buzzed again, vibrating against the wood and reverberating in my bones. I blinked and jerked, almost an involuntary flinch.
It’s just his phone. Get a grip.
But a buzz meant someone was contacting Reid, contacting us. And any communication was bad news at this point.
Reid stepped to me hesitantly, as if he were approaching a skittish stray dog. Understanding flashed across his face. “That will probably happen for a while. But it will get better.” He touched my hand for a moment, but it was enough to remind me that we were safe. For now. I relaxed my posture as I exhaled.
At my side, he positioned the phone so we could read the screen.
I stared at the contact information, a line of pound signs. The meaning of the symbols finally registered. The number was restricted and blocked. I read the first line of the message.
This is Meg.
My body was numb. I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes. They didn’t exist – or if they did, I couldn’t control them. I reread the three words.
My mom. I wasn’t sure I wanted read on. Not just because I didn’t want bad news, but I didn’t want bad news that had anything to do with my family.
Reid bumped his shoulder to mine. “I didn’t think we’d hear from your mother this soon after her last message.” His voice was quiet.
It had been three days since I’d seen her face on her video message. Three days ago seemed like forever, yet it didn’t.
The phone buzzed again, making me jump, waking my body from a fear-induced paralysis.
Eli and I are redirecting to the Hub. 3 Founders need to be present to make executive decisions for the entirety of the Resistance. If the need arises, I have to be present. We should be there before you arrive. The Council is unaware there is a mole within the Hub. Use caution.
Hearing from my family made my heart burst with sweet relief because it was confirmation they were still alive and well. But fear squashed the celebration, turning my blood to cement.
I needed a minute to think. I couldn’t let my family go to the Hub with no way to protect themselves. I shoved the phone out of my line of sight, toward Reid. Instead of moving, he caught my hand and whisked me around to face him. “Josie, I know that look.” He let my hand fall. “If I take you to the Hub instead of the safe house, not only will I be disobeying direct orders, but it could get both of us, and possibly others, killed. You’d be giving the mole what he wants – you.”
He was right – the mole wanted me. And the best way to get to me was through what I cared about most, the people I cared about most. My family.
I took a step away from Reid, the back of my legs hitting the bed. I sank down onto the mattress.
I opened my mouth, but I couldn’t put two words together. My thoughts jumped from the mole, to my family, to the Consortium.
Reid stepped in front of me, his sober expression replaced with brows arched in concern. “Josie, I understand how you must be feeling—more than you know. But I’m supposed to keep you safe.”
I shoved off the bed. My knees buckled immediately and I rocked onto my heels, falling back to the mattress. Frustration clamped down on my emotions and I was ready to scream. I couldn’t look at Reid, but I held a palm up as I stared at the phone still in his hand.
He gave me his phone, the text message already pulled up on the screen. Then he sat next to me, making the bed dip under his weight. I read the message again.
What were my choices? If I went to the Hub, the biggest community of the Resistance, I’d be trapping myself with someone who wanted me dead. If I went into hiding with Reid, I’d still be hunted by the Consortium. Neither option was a vacation.
The muscles in Reid’s jaw flexed as his gaze traveled over my face. “I know your family means everything to you. Eli shouldn’t have to be involved in this.”
That was the part I couldn’t take. I let my head drop into my hands, slumping between my knees. The smell of bleach from the linens was almost comforting.
I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that Eli would be staying in the same compound as the mole, as the person who helped Santos try to kill me. Swallowing the ache in my throat and the sting in my sinuses, I willed away my tears.
“Josie.” There was desperation in Reid’s voice.
Clearing my throat, I slowly sat upright and lifted my eyes to meet Reid’s.
Reid looked toward the window. “The Consortium wants all Anomalies dead because we’re too dangerous. And since you’re on your way to being the most powerful Anomaly on the planet, you aren’t just the target – you are the freaking bullseye.”
I wasn’t what mattered. Eli would be in danger. I was the only one who could protect him. I was the only one who could protect a lot of people.
Reid stood and crossed the small room to shut off the air unit. A whole new world of muted sounds came to life. A mourning dove cooed nearby, two housekeepers spoke in hushed tones outside as they pushed a cleaning cart on the cracked sidewalk, and a truck rumbled in the distance. There were spaces in the new quiet, spaces with virtually no sound but plenty of room for thought.
My family was bait. Fury simmered in my stomach.
I shoved off the bed and stepped to Reid’s side, making him look at me. His eyes fluttered shut. “I wish I could just take you away from all this.” His dark lashes fanned upward as he opened his eyes. “But this is your decision.”
His compassion for me meant more to me than I would be able to convey to him. If this were a normal life and we were normal people, his care for me would’ve been all I needed. But our world was anything but normal. My safety didn’t matter, no matter how much he cared about me. My priority was keeping my family and others safe. If that put me in harm’s way, so be it. “You and I are more powerful than the mole and we’ll out number him. Statistics are in our favor. And he doesn’t get to use my family as bait.”
Reid shook his head and something flickered in his eyes. He tugged me against him, my chest colliding against his. My fingers dug into him, pulling him closer.
Terror trickled through my nervous system, seeping through every inch of me, infusing my body. “I need to go to the Hub,” I whispered. It wasn’t a want, it was a need. I needed to keep my family safe. And in doing that, I’d be facing my own mortality. But what scared me more was facing their mortality, Eli’s mortality. I’d already lost one brother.
Standing in front of the lone motel room window, our bodies bathed in rays of morning sunshine, to anyone watching, we would have looked like we were glowing from within, like superheroes. But superheroes wouldn’t let fear cripple them like this.
Reid let his forehead rest against mine and closed his eyes. “I don’t like this idea for a lot of reasons. But I know that’s selfish.” Blue eyes stared into mine. A sadness masked his face that I didn’t understand.
“Sorry,” I whispered.
He pressed his lips into a tight line. “Let’s go.” He squeezed me then turned to the bed.
“How are we going to find the mole?”
He zipped his duffle bag. “I have no idea, Josie.”
I plucked my phone from the bedside table, the varnish of the dark wood worn along the edges. His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed. “You need to know something. We have to be different in the Hub.” He shook his head. “We can’t, uh,” his voice scratched. “We can’t do this in there.”
“What?” I let my gaze drop to the ground.
“Josie.” I couldn’t look at him until I was sure the sting in my eyes had dissipated. “Josie, look at me.”
That was my luck. My first boyfriend ever broke up with me on my birthday, then my long-time crush ended anything between us before we even had a chance. Two guys ditching me in under two weeks. That had to be some kind of record. For losers.
The shabby motel floor creaked under our feet as Reid dropped his bag, stepped in front of me. “We have to play by the rules in the Hub, and I’m someone who trains others to follow the rules. One of the rules? No trainer-trainee relationships. A romantic relationship between trainers and trainees clouds the trainer’s judgment. So we can’t do this.” He motioned between us.
Understanding why didn’t make the rejection any less painful.
Reid dipped his head, his dark hair falling forward, leaving an inch between our noses. “Make no mistake, I love what we have.” The deep line between his brows reappeared. “But going into the Hub means putting the mission before us. And I’m all for it. We don’t want anyone, including the mole, to know we have a relationship. It would be used against us. A relationship in the Hub could hurt you. I can’t put you in more danger than you already are. We can’t be anything more than friends for now.”
He was right, but that wasn’t going to stop the hurt. What we had wasn’t just a two-week whirlwind romance; this was a lifetime of growing a relationship. I couldn’t move. I’d lost my family, my friends, my home. I’d naïvely thought maybe I could have the one guy who understood what I’d lost and understood me.
A weird pressure bloomed in my chest, but I had to ignore it. I had to move and focus before tears fell and I was a puddle on the floor. Besides, we needed to get on the road. I backed away from Reid. “Come on.” Stepping to the bed, I flung my backpack over my shoulder. “We have to catch a mole. Before he kills my family. Or me.”
Reid snagged his duffle, his face drawn in worry, and opened the heavy door, squinting into the bright morning light. We secured our bags and our helmets, and I climbed on the bike behind Reid. I forced myself to move as though nothing was different, touching Reid when I had to without reservation. But everything was different.
Reid turned the key, revved the throttle, and the engine roared to life under us. Turning his head over his shoulder, his pale irises met mine. “Last chance. Left to Flagstaff or right to the Hub?”
My chest felt restricted, like I couldn’t pull in a full breath. “Right.” I gripped his waist, anticipating the turn.
He didn’t reply, but he moved his hand on top of mine for a second to squeeze it. Bits of asphalt spat away from the tires as we headed north toward the Hub in the Rockies. The wind whipped through my hair, a flame of red twisting behind me from under my helmet.
In Star Wars terms, I was Luke Skywalker and the Consortium was my own version of the Empire who wanted to wipe out all Jedi. We were off to join the Rebels – the Resistance in the Hub.
The white line on the road trailed alongside the motorcycle, as if it were holding our hands, guiding us. There was something comforting about that white line. Even if it had to break, it came back. That’s what Reid had been for me the last couple weeks – my anchor.
I tightened my hold around Reid’s waist, pressing my body against his back. The warmth of his leather jacket against my stomach combated the cool breeze that had picked up the higher we climbed into the mountains as our journey stretched late into the day.
An hour ago, he’d said we would be to the Hub soon. I hoped for my numb butt’s sake it was sooner rather than later. Despite the peacefulness in watching the highway disappear in the mirror, the growl and whoosh of each semi passing us in the opposite direction made me flinch. With each flinch, I was taken back to the moment I Pushed the lightning that killed Santos. My mind was stuck, replaying the image over and over. The white light had temporarily blinded me as it streaked down the oil-slicked sky to Santos, making me flinch. Santos’ body had convulsed, his face contorted in horror.
No matter what I had done the last few days, how often Reid had made me laugh, or how much we’d kissed late at night, guilt and shame had weaseled into my thoughts. The guilt-shame of taking Santos’ life wasn’t letting up. In fact, it was getting worse.
We rounded a bend in the road and my chest twisted as if someone were ringing me out like a wet towel. My left lung ached like nothing I’d felt before. Was it my lung, though? Or was it my heart?
Was this what it was like as Santos drowned? Had his lungs hurt and was his heart on the verge of explosion? Another picture of Santos coming after me on the beach, a sick and menacing smile on his lips, flickered in my mind.
Another eighteen-wheeler passed and the lightning flashed in my mind again. When the face came into focus though, it wasn’t Santos – it was Eli.
Fear gripped me and I beat both hands on Reid. That’s when I noticed my hands were shaking, and my heartrate matched the rhythm of the shaking, fast and sporadic. Frantic.
“Josie?” he yelled over his shoulder. I couldn’t manage words, I just beat my right fist into his back, holding on for dear life with my left arm, hooking it around his middle.
Reid slowed around the next curve then pulled off the road at a scenic lookout. I jumped off the bike before it came to a complete stop, flinging my helmet off of my head. The gravel crunched under my boots as I ran to the edge of the lookout. Leaning over the railing, bracing myself on my forearms, I hung my head as I concentrated on deep inhales and slow exhales.
Reid’s feet crushed the gravel as he sprinted to me. “Josie?” His voice was a higher pitch than I’d heard before and it cracked at the end of my name.
His warm hand landed gently on my back. “What’s wrong?”
I shook my head, unable to answer.
Santos was a traitor. Santos tried to kill me. I will not be the reason Eli dies.
A panic attack over Santos and this mole and imagining myself kill my little brother. At least that’s what I thought it was. I just needed the feeling to pass.
I held up a finger, continuing inhaling through my nose to the count of four and exhaling through my mouth to slow my breath and pulse.
Santos was a traitor. Santos tried to kill me. I will not be the reason Eli dies.
I wiped the perspiration on my forehead away with the back of my hand. Reid didn’t force me to speak, but patiently stood behind me, his hand still on my back.
I eventually straightened, letting out a long, pain-free sigh. Finally, I could breathe.
“Santos?” he whispered. I nodded and my heart squeezed again just hearing his name, but not as severe this time.
His hand slowly roamed up to my shoulder. “Are you okay?” That was a loaded question.
No, I wasn’t okay, but he already knew that. He’d held me every night when I woke screaming from nightmares. He’d listened as I rehashed the Consortium’s attack on the rooftop after the serum handoff to the vice president. He’d watched me grow up with my family and knew they were everything to me.
I touched my fingertips to his hand gripping my shoulder. I wanted to throw my arms around him and burrow my head into the crevice of his neck, the place I fit perfectly. I wanted to breathe in the smell of him, a clean, musky scent, and feel his warmth around me. Instead, I pulled my fingers away and nodded. “I’ll be fine.” The words came out quieter than I intended.
I finally raised my eyes to take in our view. A blanket of evergreens covered the mountains surrounding us. “This puts Endor to shame.” I wished it were Endor. No one would be hunting me there.
Crickets had begun their evening song, serenading us, filling in the silence. Moving forward, I leaned against the aluminum guard rail, the metal cool on my upper thighs through my jeans. I kicked a spray of gravel, rocks assaulting plants on the way down the side of the mountain into the gorge.
Reid stepped beside me, his presence simultaneously calming because he had been my support since this whole mess started weeks ago, yet jarring because he couldn’t play the same role anymore. I cleared my throat. “This is beautiful.”
His eyes focused on the mountains in front of us. “This is home,” he said.
“Welcome home.” I guessed this was my home now. Temporarily. Indefinitely. I didn’t know.
I stared at the place where the mountaintops kissed the watercolor sky. Pink cotton candy clouds battled shadows gobbling up the mountains. The sharp smell of pine reminded me of family camping trips – Nick and I racing through the woods and stony creek beds. The scent made me want to run, faster than I had ever before. Run to Mom and Eli in the Hub and find the mole.
Running to them also meant losing my relationship with Reid. As much as I wanted to get to the Hub for them, part of me didn’t. Reid was my older brother’s friend who I’d secretly had a thing for since I was little. He was the one person I’d always wanted. How was I just supposed to turn off those feelings?
Reid turned to face me, his hand reaching for mine, but he allowed it to drop before he touched me. He was afraid to get close. He was putting space between us to keep me safe.
I had to let him go. An invisible pain spread through me. I was a piece of glass struck by a hammer. A spider-web of cracks hid under my skin. I hadn’t thought being kept safe could hurt more than being in danger.
I closed the space between us, his face only inches from mine. His eyes shut for a moment as he sighed. “Josie.” The word was drawn out and whispered.
I traced his jawline with my forefinger. I had to get close. I needed it. I needed him. I shifted my weight forward to rise up on my toes, to touch my lips to his, but then I stopped.
I couldn’t kiss him when I couldn’t have him. I backed away, instantly feeling chilly.
A crease formed between his eyes. “We probably need to get going.”
This was it. We were done.
I turned to his motorcycle, but a Jeep had replaced Reid’s bike. Two weeks ago that would’ve freaked me the hell out, but not anymore. I opened the door of the vehicle and slid into the seat, limp and numb, sadness weighing me down. I stared out the windshield, focused on the mountain across the valley, but I wasn’t really seeing it. In my peripheral, Reid scooted behind the wheel and sat unmoving for several seconds. He hit the steering wheel with the palm of his hand, making me jump in my seat.
Reid turned toward me, his gaze intense. He swiftly slid his hand behind my neck and pulled me to him.
His lips crashed to mine and pressed my mouth open. The warmth of his hand cupping my face and the grip on my waist, as if I’d disappear, fused me back together, making me whole again. My fingers twisted in his hair, pulling him closer. When his tongue swept over mine, my soul ignited. Reid was the human form of helium, making me weightless, letting me soar. We kissed until we were both breathless.
I let my hands slip down to his chest, his heart thumping against my palms. “Reid,” I breathed.
His mouth hovered inches from mine. “That is how I feel about you,” he whispered, his breath tickling my lips. “I can’t do it. I can’t be without you. We’re stronger together.”
I pulled in a deep breath, thinking maybe I would fly away from the brief high of overwhelming joy. “I need you.”
He rested his forehead to mine. “You have me.”
He moved the hand on my waist to my jaw, his thumb sweeping across my cheek. “We can be together, but we have to hide it. It has to be only in private.”
He glanced down to my lips. “And I can’t wait until the next time I can do that.”
The mere idea of there being another time he’d kiss me with that kind of intensity heated my cheeks.
Reid sat back in his seat, started the engine, and gave me his flirty half smile I’d grown to adore. “Let’s go.”
I flipped down the visor and peeked in the mirror. Some tendrils of hair were wavy, some straight, and all of it completely out of control. My hair might as well be Captain Davey Jones’ tentacles from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
With the next blink I Pushed and a hair band appeared in my palm. I no longer felt like getting sick each time I Pushed or Retracted reality.
Inspecting my hair, I Pushed my strawberry blonde strands straight then pulled it into a ponytail. Every Push or Retraction came with a price. Each Oculi had a bank of energy that was limited and every manipulation of reality was an energy withdrawal. When the bank was empty, it was empty. Oculi were encouraged to not waste Pushes and Retractions on little things we could do ourselves.
I, on the other hand, was the daughter of the two scientists who’d taken the amplifying serum. My energy bank, like my older brother’s had, seemed to work a little different than other new Anomalies. I seemed to have endless energy. In fact, I had to use my energy, release some by Pushing and Retracting, just to take the edge off. My energy had grown in the last three days even, almost radiating off me at times. I’d only had these abilities for a couple weeks and I was growing more powerful each day.
“Is what I’m wearing okay?” I asked, checking out my retro Princess Leia tee and holey jeans.
“Yeah. You look…” He glanced at me as he drove and a mischievous grin slid across his lips.
“What?” My nerves were shot and we weren’t even to the Hub yet.
He shook his head, smiling to himself. “You’re fine.”
“Okay. I guess I’ll trust you on that.” Even though everyone at the Hub would know who I was, I wanted to make a good impression. Everyone in the Hub would have varying expectations of me, since I was the daughter of one of the founding families of the Resistance. Plus, my older brother had an Oculi degradation in the Hub, a rare consequence of observing reality into existence. Our observations traveled through the optic nerve to our brain. Sometimes our observations could randomly fry our nerves, which, could lead to degradation of the parietal lobe, cerebrum, and cortex. A possible side effect of this kind of degradation was a psychotic break.
“You can trust me.” His eyes locked on mine, this time not accompanied by a smile. “With everything.” He turned his attention back to the road, his profile dark against the waning sunset.
I was banking on that trust. I wouldn’t be able to do anything without it. “I need to make sure I have this straight. Right now our plan is to figure out a way to expose the mole, possibly with me as the bait.” I knew he didn’t like that idea, so I ignored his serious side-eye and continued. “This guy wants me dead, so he’s almost definitely going after my family. He may also try to take the Resistance down from the inside. Aaaand, we don’t know if he is working with anyone else inside the Hub, like he was with Santos.”
“You got it, babe.”
Anger seethed in my stomach as I watched thunderhead clouds billow from behind the mountain peaks. Energy buzzed in my fingers. This mole, this accomplice to my attempted murder, this orchestrator of the deaths of innocent people, didn’t know what was coming for him.
What do you think? Psyched for more of Josie and Reid?!
I have some big news about ENIGMA, book 2 in the Schrodinger’s Consortium series, the sequel to my young adult scifi novel, ANOMALY!!
Scroll down to read the first sentence
& more awesomeness!
The first sentence of ENIGMA is below PLUS,
a final release date for ENIGMA has been set!
Read below for MORE exciting news!
MORE FUN SCIFI & SWOONY FUN!!!
YOU can help reveal the ENTIRE first chapter on October 31, 2016!
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below to feature chapter one of ENIGMA!
I CAN NOT WAIT FOR YOU ALL TO READ CHAPTER ONE!
Josie Harper is the main character of my YA scifi Anomaly (Entangled TEEN, 2014) and the coming sequel, Enigma. I’ve been asked again and again what Josie and I have in common. Well, it obviously isn’t our looks. Josie was inspired in 2013/14 by Kat McNamara, now the lead of the tv show Shadowhunters on Freeform. (Kat has read Anomaly and I’ve had the honor of meeting this crazy-talented and sweet, young woman a couple times.)
I do, however, share a couple characteristics with Josie. For example, we are both unapologetic scifi nerds. We love all things Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel, and more, specifically Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston). We both have an interest in science, but she’s far more cerebral than I.
One of our biggest similarities, though, is of a more serious nature. Josie and I have both faced fear. I’m not giving away any spoilers if you haven’t read Anomaly by saying that Josie has a fear of water. Her fear was induced by a loved one drowning. I could incorporate her feelings into the story because I, too, had a fear of water.
I was never really comfortable in water. My mom wasn’t comfortable herself when I was a kid and my parents couldn’t afford swim lessons. I doggy paddled when I did swim and wouldn’t usually venture into water over my chest. When I was a junior in high school my uncle drowned while fishing, which exacerbated my fear of water. I got through water situations (pool parties, trips to the ocean, etc) with a smile on my face, but inside, terror reigned. Water was a dangerous force of nature, one I didn’t feel I was equipped to handle. Years later (1999), my fiance (now my husband) tried to teach me how to swim so we could snorkel on our honeymoon. Simply sticking my face in the water? Suffocating. Trusting that breathing tube? Ha! Let’s just say it took months of practice in a swimming pool. And I still couldn’t swim. Thank Thor I floated well.
Fast forward to spring of 2014. I had two boys whom I made sure had taken swim lessons and were comfortable in water. I still didn’t care for boats and my anxiety was out of control when my family was in a boat. My fear was paralyzing. What was it about water that I hated? I’d realized I was facing my mortality. I was looking death in the face each time I stuck my head in the water. It was me versus death. And I needed to model for my kids that fear can’t control you; I had to face my fear.
I signed up for private swim lessons. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t fast, it wasn’t fun. Every time I got in the water I though I was going to have an anxiety attack (that’s a post for another time). But after months of practice, I could swim. I could jump in deep water. I could tread water.
The last two summers I’ve taken my kids swimming – by myself. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for me it is. A few weeks ago, I went to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri with my family and in-laws. We were on a boat for two days. We swam in the lake and in the pool. Yes, I still have mini freak-outs. Yeah, I’m still over-protective about my kids in and around water, but I’ve come so far. And I will continue to get more comfortable in water because this is a fear I will conquer. Am I over it? No. But I will fight this fear head on, just as I do with many other fears.
Being fearful of something DOES NOT make me weak, it makes me human. And being brave DOES NOT mean not being fearful. It means being fearful and doing it anyway.
Have you faced any fears like Josie and me?
More info on Enigma announced 8/8/16! Love & hugs!
My publishing house, Entangled TEEN, is holding
a fun promo today until July 3 11:59 pm EDT!
You could win this Entangled TEEN Series Starter Kit!
As part of the promotion, there will be online events – like the Twitter chat shown below on June 23rd, 9pm EDT – sales on YA books, and they are hosting a HUGE giveaway for the Entangled TEEN Series Starter Kit, which will include Anomaly!!!
For a complete list of online events and sales, check out Entangled TEEN’s website HERE!
To enter for RAD prizes, like the Entangled TEEN Series Starer Kit,
go to the Rafflecopter link below! Good luck & happy summer!!!
Congratulations to the 3 winners of the Anomaly
1 year anniversary giveaway!
Aletia M, Chelsey J, Charlene E
I’ll be emailing you soon!
Thank you to everyone who entered & followed me on social media!!!
And thank you, again, to everyone who has supported me and this book over the last year. I’m insanely grateful!
Stay tuned for more giveaways!
Let’s get this party started!
On November 25, 2014 Anomaly, my debut novel, was released by Entangled Teen. THANK YOU to my friends, family, and Frans (fans that have become friends) who have made this last year amazing!!! Enigma, the sequel to Anomaly, will be released next fall and, like Anomaly, will be available wherever books are sold. To celebrate Josie and Reid’s story and the continuation of it, I’m hosting a giveaway!!! There are TONS of ways to enter for a chance to win signed books and goodies. Already have a book? Enter to win another to give to a friend. Check out the pics below of what is up for grabs in this celebration giveaway.
Click the blue Rafflecopter link below the pics
to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!!
I’m so happy to be here with Tonya for my paperback release blog tour! I’ve got some cool things to share with you, including the first chapter you can read below and an international Goodreads giveaway– and a kissing scene! Plus, I’m doing a review giveaway– if you’ve read How We Fall and post a review of it (whether or not you liked it) on Amazon AND Barnes & Noble on or before Nov 7, you’ll be entered in a drawing for books and a $20 B&N giftcard! More details about that here. Keep reading for all the goodies below!
About the book:
Her friendship with him has turned into something she can’t control, and he’s the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for…no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn’t right about this stranger, and Jackie’s suspicions about the new girl’s secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus.
Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else’s lies as the mystery around Ellie’s disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?
Praise for How We Fall:
2015 Silver Falchion Best YA Novel finalist- Killer Nashville
Kirkus Reviews: “Debut novelist Brauning tells a touching story of young, star-crossed lovers caught in a drama they have tried hard to avoid…. A sweetly written mix of mystery and romantic turmoil.”
School Library Journal: “Heartbreaking and well-paced, this mystery novel challenges readers to look past preconceptions and get to the know characters, rather than focus on an uncomfortable taboo. Brauning’s characters are well developed and their story engrossing. An intriguing thriller… this title will raise eyebrows and capture the interest of teens.”
ALA Booklist: “…an unusual combination of romance and suspense…There is also something universal about Jackie’s struggles with her feelings and her desires, and readers will identify with her emotions, while going along for the plot’s ride. This quest for identity, wrapped up in an intriguing mystery, hooks from the beginning.”
Read the first chapter!
The night was almost as oppressively airless as the day. I couldn’t sleep, so I watched Rear Window. Jimmy Stewart made the humidity almost bearable, but I’d forgotten how creepy the movie was. Or maybe it was just the dark and the accident making me jumpy.
After the credits rolled, it was still too hot to sleep. I laid there dozing and waking for an hour, but my fan made little difference so I gathered up my blanket and went out to the living room.
I still hadn’t talked to Marcus. Hadn’t told him whatever we had needed to be over.
The living room was always a bit cooler because it was the room furthest back in the hill. I curled up on the couch, mostly hugging the blanket because it was too hot to cover up with it.
My phone buzzed.
My phone glowed blue in the dark. He knew me too well. In the living room. Hot as Hades.
The stairs creaked a moment later as he tip-toed down. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, just basketball shorts. Way to make this harder, Marcus. He flopped down onto the couch.
“I don’t know how everyone else is sleeping,” I said.
“Maybe they all passed out.”
Marcus’s hair was damp and his face was sweaty. “Eww,” I mumbled, pulling my feet closer to me. “You’re gross.”
“Yeah, well, heat rises. Upstairs is a freaking sauna.” We lapsed into cranky silence.
Finally Marcus turned toward me and said, “Sylvia’s been texting me a lot.”
“Yeah.” Believe me, I’d noticed.
“You want to go swimming?” Apparently he was done talking about Sylvia. Fine with me.
Cool water. The night breeze. “More than anything.” I rolled off the couch and went back to my room to dig through my drawer. After hesitating, I pulled on my skimpiest swimsuit, a green string bikini with tiny white dots, and then my T-shirt.
I grabbed two beach towels from the bathroom and met him in the living room. We left the house as quietly as possible, and Marcus turned on a flashlight a hundred yards from the house. The creek cut across the back of our ten acres. It wasn’t a very wide creek, but it had deep spots.
Running through the grass with Marcus felt so familiar I could hardly bring myself to remember that there wouldn’t be a good way to explain this if anyone woke up and found both of us gone in the middle of the night. The adrenaline and expectation made me forget Claire and Aunt Shelly and anything but the good parts of us.
We were even sweatier by the time we got to the creek, but the water was right there. I pulled off my t-shirt and jumped into the creek, the shock of cold water an instant relief from the miserable heat.
Marcus dove in beside me and came up grinning. He’d jumped in wearing his basketball shorts. “A bikini? Not skinny dipping? No fair.”
“Yeah, well, take what you can get.” I splashed him, coming close enough he could almost touch me.
“Oh really. Take what I can get?” He lunged and grabbed my legs, pulling me under. I came up gasping. I yelled and sputtered while I pulled my dripping hair out of my face, but he pushed me up against the bank, muddy and root-covered as it was, and kissed me.
I was going to tell him it was over. I wasn’t even going to tell him I’d found out I loved him, because him knowing that might make it worse.
His skin burned warm against mine in the dark water. I could hardly see through the water streaming from my hair but I kissed him back, wrapping my arms around his neck and pulling him closer.
His mouth was tight and demanding. This was not the slow, patient kiss from our picnic. Every muscle in his body tensed and his hands trembled where they touched my face.
He shuddered and pulled away, just an inch. He leaned his forehead on mine. “You know, you’re not as different as you think you are.”
I leaned my forehead on his chest, feeling his harsh breathing and hearing his trip-hammer heartbeat. Claire said I would move on, but I couldn’t move on from this.
Marcus wrapped his arms around me and in all the heat and cold water I barely noticed my own hands shaking.
He pulled away to look at me, but I shook my head and his body came back, his lips back to mine. We stood together in the creek while the black water whirled downstream away from us.
How We Fall is available through:
Kate Brauning grew up in rural Missouri and fell in love with young adult books in college. She now works in publishing and pursues her lifelong dream of telling stories she’d want to read. This is her first novel. Visit her online at http://www.katebrauning.com or on Twitter at @KateBrauning.