Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Feature: Fading Away and November Sky


Today I have two great books, and I have to say I love the cover of Fading Away. That's Alex from Kiss of Death (Touch of Death series prequel)!!!

One night. 
One stupid mistake. 
Changes everything.

SAMMY STEVENS was tragically orphaned at the age of nine and sent to live with a foster family in the town of Miakoda Falls. She's bullied at school by the arrogant, selfish, one and only... KAI JORDAN.
Kai is your typical entitled teen who's on the verge of attending University and having everything he ever wanted handed to him.
But that all changes when he is involved in a car accident after a night of partying...
He's suddenly and painfully brought into the world of supernatural. 
Kai turns to the last person he ever would've expected. Sammy, as he struggles with his new identity and watches the people closest to him move on. And he is forgotten. 
As Kai and Sammy grow closer, Kai must figure out a way to either stay human or risk being stuck forever, as a prisoner of his own body…

Excerpt:
Sammy
I was only nine when they died… 
I remember the colour of my mother’s hair, and her soft voice. I remember my father’s cologne and the way he used to hold my hand tightly as we walked down to the store for milk. Everything else is a blur; I don't remember what they looked like. Their faces escape me. The memory of my parents is a fuzzy one and all of the photographs are gone now.
It was dark and hot, that much I can remember very clearly. Sweat beads off my forehead and down my neck. My room smells of wood smoke, clogging up my nose and throat, making me cough. Surely the smoke detectors would have gone off by now if we were in trouble? I clutch my pillow to my stomach and watch the flickering orange light dance under the door. A shadow and then Dad is bursting through my door, bringing a cloud full of toxic smoke with him.
“Come on Sammy,” he coaxes me towards him, throwing a fearful look over his shoulder at the wall of heat. I run to him and he scoops me up, spinning and ducking through our burning house. The bright, white hot fire is everywhere. I can feel the blazing heat on my bare skin. It burns.
An overhead beam collapses above us and my dad goes down, letting go of me as he hits the ground. I scream and crawl closer to him.
“Baby girl, you need to get out.” His words come out wheezy. I glance at the burning roof beam lying across his back. His fingers lightly touch my knee and I look back down at him. “Go get help darling, outside. Stay close to the ground. Go!” I nod quickly and weave my way to the front door as fast as I can.
As soon as I push the hot door open, someone lifts me up and sprints away from the house towards the waiting ambulance. The fireman puts me down and wipes my face clean. I cough and point back at my house. He smiles and nods before pushing me further into the ambulance and handing me off to a paramedic.
I wake up in the hospital still clutching my dirty pillow, surrounded by people, none of them my parents.

The other kids at school never see me, and when they do, they whisper. I don't know how, but they know, and being a foster child doesn’t win you any sympathy points or special treatment. It’s more like I’ve contracted an extremely dangerous disease and if anyone was to talk to me or come into contact with me, their parents would magically die too. Kids can be brutal.
I was thirteen when I first met Kai Jordan. He was a kind, gentle person back then. He introduced himself to me with a smile, unaware of my status with the rest of our classmates. Being the new kid, he was immediately snapped up into the popular group at school. If I knew what he would be like as we grew older, I would never have smiled back at him.

I am eighteen now, living with foster parents and on the verge of graduating high school and getting into the college of my dreams…if I can get this stupid paper done. Argh. I slam my pen down on my desk in frustration. It’s due tomorrow and I haven't stung a single sentence together. I shake my head and close my book. I’ll just have to ask for an extension from Mrs. Danby. Gathering my things, I stuff them unceremoniously into my backpack and swing it over my shoulder.
The bell hasn’t released us yet, but that doesn’t stop the chatter from the other students around the room. Ms. Kelly sits down at her desk and starts shuffling her own books into her tote bag. As soon as the bell sounds I follow everyone out of the classroom and drift down the hallways amidst the sea of pushy seniors, thinking about what I'm going to make myself for dinner.
Someone steps out in front of me and I collide head on with their shoulder. I frown up at the dark haired, brown eyed road block and adjust my glasses.
“Watch where you’re going,” Kai Jordan sneers at me as he pushes past. He wouldn’t remember who I am, even if he tripped over me, obviously. I wonder briefly what happened to the happy, friendly little boy he was when he moved here.
Shifting my backpack back onto my shoulder, I continue down the hallway, heading for the exit. People smack me with their books or bags as I push my way through. I feel as though I'm completely invisible. Sometimes I just want to scream, I’m here, just look and see me.
I'm in no hurry to get home. My foster parents gave birth to their first child this year, so I live in the flat above the garage by myself. Not much to look forward too. And no chance of a new foster family, I'm too close to graduating and leaving for college.

“It’s impossible not to believe in ghosts, They light up the night sky every time the sun goes down, reminding us that we are never alone.”
What would you do if you had a second chance at lost love?
Kristian Reed was only seventeen when the love of his life fell to her death. The hardest part of losing someone you love is moving on without them.
After six long years of trying to escape the pain, Kristian starts his new life in the big city, working for one of the top News Networks in the state.
Enter Bailey Nichols, she’s up front, forward and just plain annoying, and what’s worse, she won't leave Kristian alone.
Everything seems to be falling into place, that is until his past comes back to haunt him and he is torn between holding on and letting go.
By denying what’s standing right there in front of him, Kristian could lose everything…

Excerpt:
JESSICA
The memories come in flashes. These are the happiest moments of my life. I'm living them all over again.
Kristian leans towards me in a dark corner of Maisy’s house, the loud music surrounding us and the smell of teenage sweat in the air. I don't know how long I've wanted to touch his dark hair or to kiss his lush lips. Every time I see him at school, I make sure to pass his classroom on the way to my own.
Now’s my chance. I grab the collar of his shirt and pull him down so I can reach. As soon as our lips touch, his hands gently grasp the sides of my face, holding me close.
Pulling away slowly, Kristian gazes down at me, the dim light around the shadowed room glinting in his dark eyes. This moment is perfect. One I will remember forever. Kristian’s fingers run down the side of my face, I smile up at him and he returns it.
“You are the most beautiful girl I have ever met Jessica.” I turn away and giggle quietly. Kristian reaches between us and grabs a hold of my hand, leading me out of the shadows and into the room full of our dancing and talking classmates.

I wake close to midday the next day and stretch in my plush bed. All the memories from last night flooding my thoughts and making me blush.
“Jessica?” My mother’s voice sounds from the other side of my bedroom door. “There’s a boy downstairs waiting for you.” A boy?
“Okay Mum, I'm coming.” I jump out of bed, my blanket tumbling to the floor in my rush. I pull my nicest pair of jeans on and riffle through my dresser looking for an appropriate shirt.
Taking a deep breath, I pull my door open, dash down the stairs at breakneck speed and trip on the bottom step. Oh no, I'm going to face plant in front everyone. Strong arms catch me around the shoulders just as I'm about to hit the floor.
Plastering a weak smile on my face, I look up into Kristian's beautiful eyes.
“Whoops, sorry.” Oh god, I could die of embarrassment right now. Kristian smiles and helps me to my feet.
“I was wondering if you might want to go to the movies with me?” He looks almost shy as he asks, as if I'm the gorgeous, beautiful, smoking hot... Okay, that's enough. I have to answer before he thinks I'm dense as well as clumsy.
I lift my shoulders in a small shrug. “Definitely, I would love to.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I can see my Mum’s head poking around the corner of the kitchen doorway, eavesdropping. I turn discreetly so my back is to her and make a go away motion with my hand where Kristian can't see.
“I’m going out Mum,” I call out over my shoulder as Kristian leads me out to his car. I'm so nervous my palms are sweating. I hope he doesn't want to hold hands. The car ride over eases my nerves a bit. I'm sitting so close I can smell Kristian’s soap. Sort of lemony.
We arrive at the theatre and Kristian buys us both a ticket. I don't know which movie we are going to see, but it doesn't matter. As soon as we are seated, I'm not paying attention to the big screen anyway.
Kristian shifts in his seat and puts his arm around my shoulders. I look down at my lap and smile to myself.
Another flash and I'm walking down the main hall at our high school; Maisy trots along beside me, chattering about the party last Friday. I'm not listening; my eyes are scanning the people standing by their lockers, searching for Kristian.
“Hey, looking for me?” Kristian’s arms come around my shoulders and he places a gentle kiss on the side of my neck. I lean my head back against his shoulder and smile. This is where I want to stay; this is where I feel safe.
The scenery around me changes again.
“So Kristian, have you thought about what universities you will be applying for next semester?” My father is leaning slightly over the table towards Kristian with a stern look on his face. Kristian glances at me unsure.
“Dad!” My father gives me a small mischievous grin and looks back down at his plate, lifting a forkful of pasta to his mouth. This is so awkward. My mother sits across from me, trying to hide her own smile. God, could this be any more embarrassing.
After dinner is finished and I've helped Mum clean up, I follow Kristian out to his car to say goodbye.
“I had a really nice time,” Kristian leans against his car and pulls me into his arms.
“I'm so sorry about my parents. They’re a little annoying sometimes,” I apologize, twisting my fingers into his shirt.
“Stop worrying, I swear I had fun.” Kristian’s hand closes around mine and untwists my fingers. He smiles and leans down to kiss me.
I stand on the front porch until Kristian’s car turns the corner out of sight. “Was all that really necessary?” I ask, shutting the front door behind me.
“Of course, darling,” my mother answers from the lounge room. Dad chuckles from beside her. “We had to make sure he is worthy of our little princess.” Mum giggles like a little schoolgirl and switches on the television.
I huff at them and skip up the stairs to my bedroom. Lying on my bed, I stare up at the ceiling. My cell phone buzzes from my nightstand and I scramble across the bed to grab it. I open the text and nearly squeal in delight.
I love you Jessica Scott.

Another flash, they are coming quicker now.
“Do you think we will stay together after we graduate?” Kristian asks, sitting cross-legged on my bed in front of me. Our hands are touching between us.
“I hope so.” Today is our one-year anniversary. The time we’ve been together has been perfect.
Kristian reaches behind his back and pulls out a long black velvet box. “Oh my god, Kristian.” His eyes crinkle at the sides when he smiles. He hands me the box and I open it almost reverently. The sparkling gems from the bracelet shine up at me, glittering in the dying sunlight coming through my bedroom window. It’s so beautiful. “Thank you so much.”
Kristian helps me do up the clasp as I wrap it around my wrist. When he's done, I crawl onto his lap and kiss him, wrapping my arms around his neck and pulling him closer.
We fall backwards until he's lying on his back and I'm on top of him, running my hands up his stomach and chest. The atmosphere becomes heated; Kristian's fingers push my shirt up underneath my bra. Is this really happening? I hesitate and then yank Kristian's shirt up, he lifts himself off the bed slightly so I can take it off completely.
“Jessica! Kristian! Dinner is ready,” my father calls out from downstairs. We both falter and look at each other. Had we nearly done what I think we were going to do?
Kristian smiles shyly up at my shocked expression. “I don't think I'm ready for that yet, and neither are you.” I giggle timidly and hand Kristian his shirt. He sits up underneath me and pulls me into a tight hug.
I relax into his hold and whisper into his ear. “I love you.” I can feel his mouth lift up in a smile on the side of my face.
Now I'm sitting in a brightly lit classroom. Math is one of the most boring classes in school. The equations don't make sense to me, and who puts letters in math anyway. Maisy scribbles notes in her book beside me, I'm not sure if they have anything to do with what Mr. Saul is teaching. I tap my pen on my notebook and stare at the clock above the door, the second hand feels like it is going backwards.
As soon as the bell rings, I'm already packed up and leaving the classroom. I walk to my locker to exchange my textbooks and get a new pen.
Maisy is chattering away beside me. “So Jake asked me to the prom. Should I wear blue or green?”
I turn to her with pursed lips, thinking. She has deep red hair and a fair complexion so she would look great in either colour. “Green?”
She nods, “Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Has Kristian asked you yet?”
I spin back around to my locker and turn the knob for my combination. “No, not yet.” I thought for sure he would have asked me by now. I sigh and pull my locker door open.
Dozens upon dozens of colorful flowers and ribbons tumble out onto the floor around me; there’s so many they spill across the hall. Other students stop and gawk at me. I bend down and pick up one of the flowers; it’s a dark yellow rose. Attached to its stem is a small card with black writing.
Each day I love you more, today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. Please be my date for the prom Jessica Scott. – Love Always, Kristian
I look down at the other flowers, every single one has its own note attached to it. I can't breathe. I'm lost for words. Maisy and all the other students have stopped talking and are staring at me, open-mouthed.
“So will you go with me?” Kristian asks quietly from behind me. He’s so close I can feel his warm breath on the back of my neck. This is the most romantic thing I've ever seen. Even better than a movie. I twist slowly to face Kristian, a look of awe on my face.
“Of course I'll go with you.” He grins and pulls me into his arms, crushing me to his chest.
My mother leans over me, I watch in the mirror as she pins a stray strand of hair up on top of my head. I wince as the bobby pin scrapes against my skull.
“Sorry darling,” Mum apologizes as she sprays glitter into my hair. I'm practically bouncing on my seat in excitement. I'm finally graduating high school and I'm going to prom with the love of my life.
The doorbell rings downstairs, I can hear my Dad’s heavy footsteps as he walks across the lounge room to answer it. Mum helps me stand and I cautiously descend the stairs in my high heels. My light blue, nearly white dress is tight at the waist and loose around my legs, trailing along behind me. Kristian's face lights up as he sees me. He holds his hand out to help me from the bottom step.
“You look beautiful Jess,” Kristian exclaims as I spin in a circle to show him and my father my sparkling dress.
“You two over by the window, please, so I can take some pictures.” Mum holds up her digital camera and waves her other hand towards the lounge room window. I grab Kristian's hand and drag him over to the window. Dad stands behind Mum and smiles as she starts clicking the camera. I glance up quickly at Kristian and pause. He's watching me; I'm caught in his dark gaze. The rest of the world falls away, leaving only us.
The school gym is decorated in hundreds of neon lights of all different colors, making everyone’s lighter colored clothes glow. My arm is tucked in Kristian's elbow as he leads us through the entry way and towards my group of friends.
“I'll be right back.” He kisses me on the forehead and walks back into the crowd.
“You are so lucky Jess, he's so gorgeous.” Maisy and Jenifer come up on either side of me and sigh dreamily. Jenifer hands me a cup of punch and we all sit down at a small table at the edge of the room.
“Did you hear about Stephanie?” Maisy whispers loudly beside me.
“No, what happened to Steph?” I lean across the table to hear her reply.
“She cheated on Brodie!” Maisy’s eyes go wide and shocked. Beside me, Jenifer gasps. She's had a crush on Brodie since fifth grade, so this is big news for her.
“You should make your move tonight Jen,” I tell her with an encouraging smile.
She looks a little worried. “You think so?”
“Definitely,” Maisy pipes up from across the table. Jenifer stands up hesitantly and searches the dancing masses in the gym. After a moment, she nods to herself and walks through our classmates heading for Brodie. Jake jogs up to the table and grasps Maisy’s hand, twirling her out onto the dance floor.
Kristian stops beside me, his white dress shirt glowing under his jacket. The neon lights around the room make his eyes glitter as he holds out his hand. “Do you want to dance?”
I place my hand in his. “Only if it lasts forever.”

Kristian pulls me through the door and into his room before his family sees me. “I've organized for all of us to go and hang out at the waterfalls for your birthday.”
I smile. “Really.”
“Yes, I'll pick you up from your house tomorrow morning at eight.” He drags me down onto the bed beside him and then pushes me back so he's leaning over the top of me.

Flash, and I'm no longer in Kristian’s room. I can hear the excitement from our group as we walk along the narrow dirt track through the trees to the waterfall that our town was named after. There are about ten of us and we’re all dressed to go swimming and lounge about beside the water.
We emerge from the dense trees and I stop to stare as everyone moves past me. The waterfall is even more beautiful than I remember. The clear water sparkles in the sunlight as it tumbles down the rocks and splashes into the pool below. There are wildflowers growing in patches around the entire clearing, butterflies in all sorts of incredible colors hovering above them.
A small group of us heads up the path to get to the top of the falls so we can have a look at the view.
The trees thin out and the rocks beneath our feet turn into slippery pebbles. Kristian takes a hold of my hand and keeps me steady as we exit the trees and reach the edge of the waterfall. I can see everyone down below us, spreading out, talking and laughing.
 I let go of Kristian’s hand and take a small step closer to peek over the edge.
“Careful Jess,” Kristian warns, from right behind me. The cascading water looks fast as it speeds over the edge and crashes down into the pool. It’s not a huge drop, but it’s big enough to do some damage. I turn slowly to walk back to Kristian.
One minute I'm gazing at his face, the next I'm falling.
My fingers scramble to hold on to the slippery rocks on the side of the waterfall. Kristian's face appears above me, his expression fierce but afraid.
This is the last thing I remember and it is so clear, as if I saw it all in slow motion, every single excruciating detail. Kristian’s dark, glittering eyes open wide in horror. His mouth opens, screaming my name as he reaches for my hand.
I remember the exact moment my fingers give, ripping my fingernails to shreds as they scrape the rocks, my bracelet from Kristian slipping off my wrist as I fall.
The memories come in flashes. They are what I will remember forever.


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6 comments:

  1. I like that quote about it being impossible not to believe in ghosts. Nice!

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  2. Great choices of books...and I love the covers. Very spooky yet in a sweet way!

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    Replies
    1. Agreed. I love that we share the same cover but done differently, if that makes sense. Lol

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  3. The excerpts work well. I do like the cover designs.

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