First, a bit about YASH:
This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize-- But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for a few hours!
If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the . There are NINE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the . You can visit each team for a chance to win a set of signed books!
Somewhere below you will find my favorite number in PINK. Write that down. Click on the link to the next author page, check out their exclusive material, and find their favorite number. Write that number down, too. Repeat until you have all the numbers for the authors on that team. Add the numbers together. Fill out the form on the scavenger hunt site to enter to win the grand prize!
On to the fun!
I'm so excited to be hosting the lovely Chanda Stafford, author of FIRST!
Seventeen-year-old Mira works on a farm in the ruins of Texas, along with all of the other descendants of the defeated rebels. Though she’s given her heart to Tanner, their lives are not their own.
When Socrates, a powerful First, chooses Mira as his Second, she is thrust into the bewildering world of the rich and influential. Will, a servant assigned to assist her, whispers of rebellion, love, and of a darker fate than she’s ever imagined.
With time running out, Mira must decide whether to run to the boy she left behind, to the boy who wants her to live, or to the man who wants her dead.
This book sounds amazing, and Chanda has been kind enough to share a deleted scene!!
Without further ado...
Will fidgets in the doorway. Wearing all black, he’s just another shadow, except for the whites of his eyes and teeth as he flashes me a brief, humorless smile.
“You looked pretty stressed out at dinner. How about we take a walk?”
For a few seconds, I think about refusing, it’s just past midnight, after all, but then he takes my hand in his. Electricity flutters within me, like so many moths to a summer’s flame. “Where are we going?”
“Outside.” He cracks a crooked smile. “Don’t worry, you’re safe with me.”
I chew on my bottom lip as he leads me into the crisp night air. All around us, eerie sounds shatter the stillness. Cicadas keep up a raucous rhythm, an owl hoots, and a lonely chorus of coyotes begin their nightly serenade. Then silence. A rabbit squeals, and its shrill scream brings a chill down my spine. Dinner is served, at least for one of the night’s denizens.
After a few minutes, the cicadas return to their song. When we stop at the far end of the courtyard, Will drops my hand and leans against the stone wall. He stares into the night sky, as if contemplating something.
“I’m sorry,” he says.
My eyes search his, but in the darkness I can’t tell what he’s thinking. “For what?”
“I never should have kissed you.”
The corners of my mouth twitch as memories of his fiery embrace consume me, as well as what happened afterward. “Me, too. I never should have hit you.”
He chuckles. “I deserved it. Especially now that you know, well, everything. It wasn’t fair to you.”
Silence descends between us, filling the gaps between the words we can never say. Should I tell him what I’ve been thinking? That I should back out and become the person I want to be, not the one everyone thinks I should become?
“I heard an old saying once,” Will says, his low voice interrupting my internal dialogue. “It was ‘a penny for your thoughts.’ My dad told me that it meant you wanted to know what someone was thinking.”
I take a deep breath, feeling bold. “Do you ever wonder what might have happened if I hadn’t been chosen?”
He shrugs, a minute gesture almost hidden by the darkness. “We’d never have met. You’d be getting married to that farm boy and Socrates would have chosen someone else, but at least you’d live a normal life.”
A tear burns its way to the surface and slides down my cheek at the thought of never having met him. Never having him in my life. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“If I’m grateful for anything in this disaster, it’s that I met you. I can’t even think about what my life would be like without you. It’s just,” he shakes his head, “I can’t explain it.”
“Me neither,” I murmur. He’s right. Before Socrates picked me, my life was boring and predictable. Will adds color to a world that I’d always seen in black and white.
“Come on.” He grabs my hand and tugs me along the side of the wall.
“Where are we going?” He doesn’t answer, and a sliver of unease snakes through me. “Will?” I try to jerk my hand back, but his grip is like iron, unyielding and unbreakable.
“Just trust me,” he says. “I’ll never do anything to hurt you.”
“You still didn’t answer my question.” My feet scramble for purchase on the sandy ground, but my soft-soled shoes are useless.
“We’re almost there.” He stops at a small door, half-hidden behind a storage shed.
Before I can protest further, he jiggles the knob until it pops open. The wilderness outside beckons, whispering of freedom and other things I shouldn’t allow myself to feel. After scanning the dense trees for threats, Will leads me into the other side.
Once there, he turns to face me, taking my hands in his. “Before we go any further, I just want you to know—“
A piercing whistle interrupts him. His back stiffens and he scowls as a shadowy figure slips out from behind the husk of a dead tree.
The short, squat man with a shaved head smirks. “Are you two lovebirds finished? You know the old man doesn’t like to be kept waiting.”
Will reluctantly releases me. “Yeah, we’re ready.”
I glance from one man to the other. “What’s going on?”
Excitement floods Will’s face. “We’re getting you out of here.”
Gah! I love a rebel. Will is my kind of character. To check out FIRST on Amazon, click here. And for more on Chanda and her books, click here to visit her website.
Before I let you go, enter to win my giveaway below! Maybe even enter 22 times (wink wink). You could win a $25 Amazon gift card or a swag pack!
Sending you all the luck as you continue hunting! Click here to visit your next stop: my publishing sister, Amy McNulty!