Today Nyrae Dawn and Entangled Teen are revealing the cover for Searching for Beautiful, which releases on March 4, 2014. Also enter below for a paperback of the book or an eBook!
On to the reveal!
Before, Brynn had a group of best friends, a loving boyfriend, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And after…she had none.
When Brynn lost the boyfriend who never loved her, the friends who feel she betrayed their trust, and the new life just beginning to grow inside her, she believes her future is as empty as her body. But then Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again…sort of.
But can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before?
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Excerpt for Searching for Beautiful:
Christian looks at me. I wait for a smart-aleck reply or a smile but get neither. Just his blue eyes sucking me in like a whirlpool. “That’s what I thought you would say. So you just have to keep fighting for it. Keep fighting to get it back.”
My eyes won’t leave his and his won’t leave mine. And he’s cute. God, he’s so cute, I just want to focus on his cuteness. I want that to be all that matters. When his hand comes up and cups my cheek, I gasp. He brushes his thumb under my eye and licks his lips and I’m frozen and on fire and close to having a heart attack and anxious all at the same time.
Slowly, he leans forward and I know he’s giving me time. And my heart is leaping and I want to feel his lips. This is Christian. The boy who asked me to dance. The boy I ran to my mom about and told her that I loved. And now he’s my friend. The first person who has made me feel normal since everything happened.
But I’m so scared. Scared of messing it up. Scared he’ll decide he doesn’t want me. Scared of losing him. Of getting hurt.
He gets closer and I smell his sweet, sugary scent. See his mouth and wet lips and that hair I want to touch.
See the one person besides Emery who I have. The one person I can’t lose. “Wait,” I say and Christian stops moving. He’s still close. So very, very close that his lips are only an inch away from mine. “I’m scared,” I admit.
“I won’t hurt you.”
And I swear a part of me believes him. Maybe all of me. But how do I know if that’s the right decision or not?
He runs his hand down my face and touches my hair. Love that he’s not nervous to do it the way I am with him and I watch his fingers, brown against my red hair.
“Go out with me, Bryntastic. Let’s go do something this weekend. Don’t keep running. I won’t even try to kiss you again unless you tell me to. Or I’ll wait for you to do it. Just let go. Live.”
His words are what I want. I want them so badly and they sound so perfect that it’s hard not to just scream, “Yes!” right now. “Why?” I ask him. “Why are you so nice to me?”
I love his strength. Love that he doesn’t even hesitates before saying, “Because you were my first crush. Because I used to watch you conqueror anything and used to listen to you laugh with your friends. You were happy and I loved your smile. Because I had to work up the courage to ask you to dance and I did, and then I left and the one thing I missed was that smile. I watched my sister lose hers and watched my family fall apart and when I came back here? I wanted to see your smile again. Because you’re beautiful when you smile and you’ve lost it now. I want you to conquer this because what the hell is the purpose in it all if the first girl I ever danced with loses her smile?”
I don’t realize I’m crying until Christian wipes my tears. “You think I’m beautiful?”
About Nyrae Dawn
Writing has always been Nyrae Dawn’s passion. There have been times in her life where she wasn’t able to chase that dream the way she desired, but she always found her way back to telling stories.
One of her loves has always been writing about teens. There’s something so fresh and fun about the age that she loves exploring. Her husband says it’s because she doesn’t want to grow up. She doesn’t think that’s such a bad thing and luckily for her, he doesn’t either.
Nyrae gravitates toward character-driven stories. She loves going on emotional journeys with characters whether it be reading or writing. And yes, she’s a total romantic at heart and proud.
Nyrae resides in sunny Southern California with her husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two awesome kids.
When she’s not with her family, you can be pretty sure you’ll find her with a book in her hand or her laptop and an open document in front of her.
She writes for Entangled Publishing, Grand Central Publishing and is self-published.
Nyrae is represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management.
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Today Jenny Trout and Entangled Teen are revealing the cover for SUCH SWEET SORROW, which releases on February 4, 2014. Also enter below for a paperback of the book or an eBook!
On to the reveal!
Never was there a tale of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo…But true love never dies. Though they’re parted by the veil between the world of mortals and the land of the dead, Romeo believes he can restore Juliet to life, but he’ll have to travel to the underworld with a thoroughly infuriating guide.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, may not have inherited his father’s crown, but the murdered king left his son a much more important responsibility—a portal to the Afterjord, where the souls of the dead reside. When the determined Romeo asks for help traversing the treacherous Afterjord, Hamlet sees an opportunity for adventure, and the chance to avenge his father’s death.
In an underworld filled with leviathan monsters, ghoulish shades, fire giants and fierce Valkyrie warriors, Hamlet and Romeo must battle their way through jealousy, despair, and their darkest fears to rescue the fair damsel. Yet finding Juliet is only the beginning, and the Afterjord doesn’t surrender souls without a price…
Excerpt for Such Sweet Sorrow:
Two figures, both alike in stature and purpose, ducked beneath a bridge in Verona. The swollen river made mud of its banks. The men slid and fought against it, their torches flickering.
"Let's turn back, Romeo," Friar Laurence urged, pushing down the hood of his rough brown robe. "Can we not let poor Juliet rest in peace?"
The younger man fixed his friend with a critical eye. "Peace? My Juliet knows no peace, only eternal torment. She took her own life, and that is my fault."
They pressed on, Romeo's steps becoming more determined the weaker his limbs grew. The poison that had incapacitated him, but not killed him, had ravaged his body. Tonight, he traveled farther beyond his father's walls than he’d dared since the night he'd returned to Verona. Even though the prince had lifted his banishment, the streets still felt unfriendly. A truce had been called between Montague and Capulet there were plenty of young men who would like nothing more than to avenge their kin by killing Romeo.
Their destination lay far from the city center, in a small encampment of hovels beside the river. Faces peeked from behind tattered curtains as Romeo and Laurence traversed the narrow lanes between the dilapidated buildings, coming finally to the very wall of the city itself. It was at this border that they found the strega.
Her door was painted red, surrounded by talismans on long chains that hung from the recessed arch. Romeo ducked beneath a dried and crumbling chicken's foot and brushed aside a crudely shaped metal eye.
"I go no further." Friar Laurence backed away from the threshold, crossing himself. "Romeo, I warn you, this is a fearful path you tread. Your soul will be lost to darkness. You will perish in the flames of hell, I beg you not to do this."
"I am already in hell." Romeo pushed open the door and stepped inside.
The interior of the witch's house was hot. It smelled of earth and the wood-like scent of herbs not used for cooking. A bent shape stood before the hearth, where a sulfurous cauldron bubbled. Romeo covered his nose and coughed.
"Ah, I was expecting a visitor this night." The strega lifted her head, the veil of coins that obscured her face tinkling like fairy bells. "Your man of God could not dissuade you?"
"Nothing will dissuade me." Even as he said it, his doubtful eyes took in the squawking black bird in the cage near the fire, the jars and bottles lining the shelves, murky objects floating in their slimy depths. "Benvolio told me you can communicate with the dead. He said you made him a charm to ward off attacks by ghosts."
The strega shuffled across the room, her coins and jewelry clattering. She pointed a bony finger at a chair, and bade Romeo sit. "You are unwell. Poison, was it?"
"Poison, yes." He could still taste the bite of it, still feel the stinging numbness in his veins. The physical evidence of it lay under his clothes, the dark stain of dying flesh spreading still, a little more each day. "Not enough."
"That’s because you went to an apothecary," the strega sniffed. "If you want poison to kill a man dead, you must see a witch."
"I'll... remember that. In the future." Romeo clasped his hands and rested his elbows on his knees. "I came to you for knowledge of the dead. I will pay whatever it takes."
"The price depends on the knowledge." She rummaged through a trunk and produced a large, black bowl. Setting it on the floor, she reached into her clothes—it seemed she wore layers upon layers of tattered fabrics, in all shades and thickness—and withdrew a vial. The sight of it winking in the light caused something to recoil inside Romeo. Too recently, he had held a similar vessel.
Then everything had gone so wrong...
"What do you wish to know?" the strega asked, emptying the thick, black liquid into the bowl.
"My love, Juliet—" his voice trembled at her name, and he took a moment to repress his anguish.
"It was her you drank poison for." The strega swirled the liquid in the basin. "I see her."
"How do you know it's her?" He leaned forward, peering into the dish. He saw nothing but his own reflection.
"The same as you know the sun rises in the east. I simply know." She clucked softly behind her veil of coins. "Bound to you by the thread of holy matrimony. A secret wedding."
Romeo swallowed back unexpected tears. "Yes, she was my... she was my wife."
It still sounded strange to his ears. A wife was something an older man had, a man like his father. He could not imagine being so old. Perhaps that had been the poison's cruelest jest, to let him believe his life would end in the vigor of his youth, only to return him with none of that youth left in body or mind.
"The young are foolish and brash." The witch's tone softened. "Black of hair, brown of eye. As fair as any maid from Verona."
"Fairer," he corrected her, his hand clenching to a fist. His nails bit into his palm as he struggled to hold back his tears. "Is she happy?"
The strega considered a moment, drawing one finger across the surface of the liquid. When she brought her hand away, it shone wet and red. "No. She is in despair. That is all I can see."
His heart squeezed tightly. He couldn't find his breath. He had hoped to hear that she was in a better place, as friar Laurence had assured him so many times. "There must be some way to assuage her grief. Some way to tell her—"
"Her eyes and ears are as closed as any dead woman's. Whatever torments her will torment her for eternity." There was no comfort to be had from the strega's voice. She reached out one gnarled hand, palm up. "If that is all—"
"It is not all!" Romeo shot to his feet, placing his hand on the dagger at his side. He did not have the strength to use it, but the witch couldn't know that. "You know dark magic. You can bring her back."
Slowly, the strega unhooked her veil, letting the net of coins fall to her lap. Her face was as aged and withered as her hands. One eye protruded grotesquely, a milky blue, while the other, shrewd and black, fixed on him. "I no longer do such magic."
"But it can be done?" Romeo asked, and when she nodded, he unsheathed his knife and prodded her knobby chin with the point. "Then you had better do it, witch."
The old woman did not tremble in fear of him. She grabbed the blade and pushed it away; it felt as though he cut himself instead of her. He dropped the dagger and stepped back, cursing as blood coursed down his arm from the slice that split his palm. Faster than he could have anticipated, the old witch grabbed his wrist and jerked his hand over the basin, letting his blood fall into it.
"I no longer work such magic," she repeated, swirling the blood in the bowl with her fingertip. "But there are others. To bring someone back, first you must find them. Are you prepared to walk with devils, boy?"
He nodded, his quick breaths flaring his nostrils.
"Are you willing to brave serpents and fire, to fight the keepers of the dead and hear ghosts speak?" She pushed his hand away. At once, the blood on his palm stopped flowing, and the wound sealed itself, burning with invisible fire. He gasped and clutched his hand, watching with horror as the old witch's good eye rolled back in her head and she called out words he did not understand.
In the bowl, the liquid lightened, then glowed and turned an unearthly blue. A maelstrom formed in the shallow basin, and lightning crackled on its surface. All the while, the old woman chanted and howled, until the room filled with a spectral wind that seemed to originate inside the blue light. The bird screamed in its cage, and jars and bottles rattled and broke on their shelves.
The surface of the liquid rose in waves capped with frothy blue. As the peaks grew higher, the aquamarine light faded, leaving only a bubbling, roiling fount of blood rising as tall as Romeo himself. The burbling red took shape, into a form so familiar that Romeo at once recoiled from it and yearned to touch it.
His Juliet stood before him, or at least, the shape of her, frozen in blood, monochromatic crimson, but unmistakably her. Thick chains bound her across her neck, her waist, manacles clasped her wrists. Her eyes were the worst of all, open, bloody, blank and unseeing, yet somehow still accusing. Still hating him, for having let her go before him.
"I'm so sorry," he whispered, his throat raw with emotion. He reached for her, knowing it a foolish thing to have done before his fingertips brushed her bloody cheek.
The vision of Juliet opened its mouth impossibly, terribly wide and a bone withering scream burst from her at the same time the vision burst, raining blood over the room.
The strega braced herself with her ancient hands on either side of the bowl, and lifted her head, the blood running in rivulets down her face. "You must go north. You will find the man who can help you there."
"North?" He conjured up a map in his mind. "Grezzana?"
"Farther." The strega pushed up from the floor, righting herself. She looked smaller somehow, more fragile than fearsome.
The eyebrow over her good eye arched in exasperation. "Farther. Farther than you have ever traveled. Over the mountains, to a castle by the sea. The seat of a murdered king."
He opened his mouth to speak, but she cut him off. "I know no more. In payment, I ask only that you never darken my door again." She lifted the dagger from the floor. He reached for it, and she threw it, so that the blade stuck in the lintel. At once, her terrible, craggy face transformed, her skin going smooth and youthful, her spider web hair turning to glossy black silk. She narrowed her eyes, no longer milky but deep black, and pointed to where the dagger quivered in the wood. "Leave it. Let its absence remind you never to cross a sister of the fortunes again."
When Romeo emerged, Friar Laurence rose to his feet, the worry that creased his brow relented only a bit. "I heard such howling, I thought you must surely be in the grips of the devil himself."
"No devils here." Romeo made no mention of the dagger. It embarrassed him now, to think he had
threatened a woman so powerful. "To find those, I must go north."
About Jenny Trout:
Jenny Trout is a writer, blogger, and funny person.
Writing as Jennifer Armintrout, she made the USA Today Bestseller list with Blood Ties Book One: The Turning. Her novel American Vampire was named one of the top ten horror novels of 2011 by Booklist Magazine Online.
Jenny also writes award-winning erotic romance as Abigail Barnette.
When she's not writing, she's sleeping or otherwise incapacitated.
She is a proud Michigander, mother of two, and wife to the only person alive capable of spending extended periods of time with her without wanting to murder her.
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Hey guys! So today I have the honor of revealing the cover for Brigid's new book, Secret! Kensington Books is releasing it on January 28, 2014. Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads!
On to the reveal:
Nowhere is safe. Not even home…
Nick Merrick is stretched to the breaking point.
Keep his grades sky-high or he’ll never escape his hometown.
Keep his brother’s business going or the Merricks will be out on the street.
Keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his own twin—or he’ll lose his family.
Keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who’s supposed to be his “girlfriend’s” partner.
Of course there’s also the homicidal freak Quinn has taken to hanging around, and the Elemental Guide counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. There’s a storm coming. From all sides. And then some.
Nick Merrick, can you keep it together?
About Brigid Kemmerer:
Brigid Kemmerer is the author of The Elemental Series, about a family of four brothers who control the elements, and their battle with those who want them dead. Storm, Spark, and Spirit are available now wherever books are sold. To read the novella introducing Nick’s story, be sure to check out Breathless available as an e-book only from major e-book retailers. You can learn more about Brigid and the Elemental boys here.