Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: Envy by Elizabeth Miles

by Elizabeth Miles
Series: Fury Trilogy #2
Release Date: September 4, 2012
by Simon Pulse

Pre-Order / Goodreads
The Furies are back in the second book of a chilling paranormal trilogy where revenge rules the day—and “sorry” isn’t going to cut it. Spring is coming, and the ice is slowly melting in Ascension…revealing the secrets buried beneath.

     Emily Winters knows the Furies have roots in Ascension, Maine—but she’s about to discover that they’re deeper than she ever imagined. With the help of her new friend Drea, she vows to dig them out. But it’s hard to focus when she’s desperate to make up with JD, and to figure out why Crow, a mysterious Ascension High dropout, seems to be shadowing her.

     Meanwhile, new girl Skylar McVoy is determined to leave her own dark past behind. So she’s thrilled when popular Gabby takes her under her wing, and the stunning and sophisticated Meg offers to give her a major makeover. But everyone knows what happens to the vainest girl of all…

     It’s tempting to be naughty. But beware: the Furies are always watching, and their power grows stronger by the day.

*A copy was provided by Simon Pulse for review purposes*
Contains minor spoilers.  They will be marked with [ ] 

I have a policy that when I read the first book in a series and hate it, I always read the second book to give the author another try. That is what I did with this series. The first book, Fury , I didn’t care for at all, but this book was a huge improvement over it.

I think what made this book so much better than Fury was the fact that the story line was already established and explained. [In Fury, we had to figure out that the furies were tormenting people who messed up, and Miles did a very poor job of explaining it to us. ] In this book, we already understood everything about the furies, so we weren’t like, “What the heck is she talking about?” like in the first book. Furthermore, the writing was significantly better than in Fury . I liked how Miles used to furies to stage events and drop hints throughout the book too.
The idea was really good too. It kind of reminds me of Pretty Little Liars (you know how A knows all their secrets? Well, in this book, the furies know all their secrets).
The one thing though that was kind of see-through was Em, or, to be more specific, what she was. Either I am a super genius and able to know everything, or it was pretty obvious (I’m not saying anything else because I don’t want to give you guys spoilers)

This was a very interesting cast of characters, and I liked most of them, but the one that I didn’t like was Skyler. In the beginning I felt really bad for her, but as the story progressed she turned into a (I know I don’t usually swear, but I have to this time) bitch. She took advantage of the fact that Gabby was so nice to her. She was sneaky, kniving, and just repulsive.
On the other hand, I really liked Gabby. Even though she was super popular, she was still really nice, and I love that Miles wrote her that way. Even though she didn’t have much to do with the actual story line, she still played a pretty big part in the book.

I am so glad that this book was better than Fury . Miles has finally learned how to build the plot and stage events, and she improved her writing a lot. I can’t wait for the next installment.
3 1/2 pink flowers

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cover Comparisons #2: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Cover Comparisons is an awesome meme hosted by Fictional Distraction where you choose a book and feature different versions of the book cover, and people vote on which one they like best.


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


It's a close call, but I think I like the US cover best.  I love the cast and the font, and the background-color works very nicely with the swirls.
The UK cover is okay.  I don't really like the picture very much, but the colors are pretty.
I think I like the GER cover the least.  It's plain-white and nothing else, really.


Which cover do you like best?
Comment below to vote!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #40

This is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlites upcoming new releases that we're highly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Nobody, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Release Date: January 22, 2013
Publisher: Egmont USA

There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.


The Rules, by Stacey Kade

Release Date: April 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion

1. Never trust anyone.

2. Remember they are always searching.

3. Don’t get involved.

4. Keep your head down.

5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans, to hide in plain sight from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules...


If anyone happens to have a contact or the email address of someone working at Egmont USA or Disney Hyperion and Hyperion, it would be great if you could email me.  They publish amazing books and I don't have a contact from these companies.  If you could email me their email address at emscrammedbookshelf(at)yahoo(dot)com I will love you forever!!! :)

Cover Reveals x 4

by Michelle Madow
#3 in Transcend Time Saga
Release Date: November 20, 2012
by Dreamscape Publishing
Number of pages: TBD
Format: Paperback

The final novel in the Transcend Time Saga.

To make things right, they must go back to when it all began ...

The Transcend Time Saga:

by Saundra Mitchell
#3 in The Vespertine
Release Date: June 4, 2013
by Houghton Mifflin
Number of pages: TBD
Format: Hardcover

No Summery Avaliable

The Vespertine series:

by Michelle Rowen
#2 in Nightwatchers
Release Date: February 26, 2013
by Harlequin Teen
Number of pages: 304
Format: Paperback


I used to be ordinary Samantha Day, but that's changed. Now, after one dark kiss from a dangerous boy, I can steal someone's soul...or their life. If I give in to the constant hunger inside me, I hurt anyone I kiss. If I don't...I hurt myself.

Bishop is the one whose kiss I crave most, but if I kiss him, I'll kill him. Then there's another boy, one I can't hurt. One whose kiss seems to miraculously quell my hunger. They're both part of a team of angels and demons that's joined forces in my city to fight a mysterious rising darkness, an evil that threatens everyone I know and love. I just wonder if I'll be able to help Bishop-or if I'm just another part of the darkness he's sworn to destroy....


When angels and demons must work together, something beyond evil is rising...

The Nightwatchers series:

by Amy Butler Greenfield
Release Date: May 7, 2013
by Margaret K. McElderry
Number of pages: TBD
Format: Hardcover

Sing and the darkness will find you.

Shipwrecked on an island seven years ago, Lucy has been warned she must never sing, or disaster will strike. But on All Hallows Eve, Lucy hears tantalizing music in the air. When she sings it, she unlocks a terrible secret: She is a Chantress, a spell-singer, brought to the island not by shipwreck but by a desperate enchantment gone wrong.

Her song lands her back in England — and in mortal peril, for the kingdom lies in the cruel grasp of a powerful Lord Protector and his mind-reading hunters, the Shadowgrims. The Protector has killed all Chantresses, for they alone can destroy the Shadowgrims. Only Lucy has survived.

In terrible danger, Lucy takes shelter with Nat, a spy who turns her heart upside-down. Nat has been working with his fellow scholars of the Invisible College to overthrow the Lord Protector, and they have long hoped to find a living Chantress to help them. But Lucy is completely untrained, and Nat deeply distrusts her magic. If Lucy cannot master the songspells, how long can she even stay alive?

Beguiling and lyrical, dangerous and romantic, Chantress will capture readers in a spell they won’t want to break.

If anyone happens to have a contact or the email address of someone working at Harlequin Teen or Dreamscape Publishing, it would be great if you could email me.  They both publish amazing books and I don't have a contact from those companies.  If you could email me their email address at emscrammedbookshelf(at)yahoo(dot)com I will love you forever!!! :)

What do you guys think of these new covers???? :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Official Cover Reveal: Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland

Hello lovelies!  Today I am super excited to be participating in this awesome cover reveal for Justina Ireland's debut, Vengeance Bound.  This tour is hosted by AToMR Book Blog Tours so make sure you go check them out!! :)


Vengeance Bound
by Justina Ireland
Release Date: April 2, 2013
by Simon & Schuster

Pre-Order / Goodreads
The Goddess Test meets Dexter in an edgy, compelling debut about one teen’s quest for revenge…no matter how far it takes her.

Cory Graff is not alone in her head. Bound to a deal of desperation made when she was a child, Cory’s mind houses the Furies—the hawk and the serpent—lingering always, waiting for her to satisfy their bloodlust. After escaping the asylum where she was trapped for years, Cory knows how to keep the Furies quiet. By day, she lives a normal life, but by night, she tracks down targets the Furies send her way. And she brings down Justice upon them.

Cory’s perfected her system of survival, but when she meets a mysterious boy named Niko at her new school, she can’t figure out how she feels about him. For the first time, the Furies are quiet in her head around a guy. But does this mean that Cory’s finally found someone who she can trust, or are there greater factors at work?

As Cory’s mind becomes a battlefield, with the Furies fighting for control, Cory will have to put everything on the line to hold on to what she’s worked so hard to build.

Justina Ireland
About Justina Ireland -------------->  Goodreads | Website   
I write. My first YA book, Vengeance Bound, is forthcoming from Simon and Schuster. I don't take anything all that seriously, except for cake. Oh, and I'm awesome. What else do you need to know?   (I found this on her blog, and I know it's not her official bio, but it was so funny)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey

by Janet Lee Carey
Release Date: January 5, 2012
by Dial

Purchase / Goodreads
Wilde Island is not at peace. The kingdom mourns the dead Pendragon king and awaits the return of his heir; the uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is strained; and the regent is funding a bloodthirsty witch hunt, hoping to rid the island of half-fey maidens.

Tess, daughter of a blacksmith, has visions of the future, but she still doesn't expect to be accused of witchcraft, forced to flee with her two best friends, or offered shelter by the handsome and enigmatic Garth Huntsman, a warden for Dragonswood. But Garth is the younger prince in disguise and Tess soon learns that her true father was fey, making them the center of an exciting, romantic adventure, and an ancient prophecy that will bring about peace between all three races - dragon, human, and fairy.

*A copy was provided  by Dial for review purposes*

Dragonswood has been sitting on my shelf for the longest of all my review copies, so I though it was only fair to finally give it a try. I’m not a huge fan of witch books, and I had no idea that there was a witch undertone in this book, and luckily it wasn’t a huge aspect of the book so I ended up liking it pretty well.

While the writing was only average in this book, I still did enjoy it. I think that Carey was trying too hard to make the diction sound old and eloquent, and, as a result, the writing was really choppy and disconnected. Also, at the end of the book, when we find out that someone is not who he/she says he/she is (not telling), the act of finding out isn’t dramatic enough. It should be groundbreaking, not just “Oh yeah, so-and-so is actually so-and-so” and leave it at that. Also, I got really confused with all the characters and places. But, on the bright side, I did really enjoy the story. The staging and story line was really good, and I loved the escapes/rescues. They were believable scenarios so I enjoyed that. I also really liked the ending. I was extremely confused about who was bad and why, because Carey didn’t really explain it in the beginning, but I’m guessing he was a pretty good villain :P

This is a very interesting cast, and I really enjoyed it. I think Tess is the perfect leading female character. She was strong, defiant, and smart, and kick-butt in her own way.
I also really liked Garth. He was so nice and sweet and cute and totally sexy. Mmmmmmmmmmm :p

So, all in all, a pretty good fantasy book. And, let me just point out, this cover is absolutely stunning. Love love love love LOVE it!!

4 pink flowers

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cover Reveal (Blog Tour): Naturals by Tiffany Trent

Hello lovelies!  Today I have a great blog-tour-ish post for you today.  I will be doing a cover reveal for a new Entangled Publishing release, so I hope you all will stick around!! :)


Naturals (The Lost Souls, #2)

Title: Naturals
Author: Tiffany Truitt
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Series: The Lost Souls #2

Tess is finally safe from the reach of the Council, now that she is living in the Middlelands with the rebel Isolationists. With James having returned to Templeton, she easily falls back into her friendship with Henry, though her newfound knowledge of Robert’s chosen one status still stings. Even surrounded by people, Tess has never felt more alone. So she’s thrilled when James returns to the settlement, demanding to see Tess — until she finds out that it’s because her sister, Louisa, has been recruited into Tess’s old position at Templeton, and that the dangerously sadistic chosen one George has taken an interest in her.

NATURALS is the second book in The Lost Souls trilogy, and follows the dystopian hit CHOSEN ONES.
The Lost Souls Series:
Chosen Ones (The Lost Souls, #1) Naturals (The Lost Souls, #2)
Tiffany Truitt
About Tiffany Truitt -------------->      Goodreads | Blog | Facebook | Twitter
Tiffany Truitt was born in Peoria, Illinois. A self-proclaimed Navy brat, Tiffany spent most of her childhood living in Virginia, but don’t call her a Southerner. She also spent a few years living in Cuba. Since her time on the island of one McDonalds and Banana Rats (don't ask), she has been obsessed with traveling. Tiffany recently added China to her list of travels (hello inspiration for a new book).

Besides traveling, Tiffany has always been an avid reader. The earliest books she remembers reading belong to The Little House on the Prairie Series. First book she read in one day? Little Woman (5th grade). First author she fell in love with? Jane Austen in middle school. Tiffany spent most of her high school and college career as a literary snob. She refused to read anything considered "low brow" or outside the "classics."

Tiffany began teaching middle school in 2006. Her students introduced her to the wide, wonderful world of Young Adult literature. Today, Tiffany embraces popular Young Adult literature and uses it in her classroom. She currently teaches the following novels: The Outsiders, Speak, Night, Dystopian Literature Circles: The Hunger Games, The Giver, The Uglies, and Matched.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cover Comparisons #1: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Cover Comparisons is an awesome meme hosted by Fictional Distraction where you choose a book and feature different versions of the book cover, and people vote on which one they like best.


Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1) Unearthly (Unearthly, #1) Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)

I will admit, I can't decide which one I like best.  They are all spectacular.
I love the US one because of the completely purple cover.  And I love the title and how it's written.
The UK cover is simply stunning.  I love how she's floating and wearing all white - it makes it really eery.
And I also like the AUS cover because of the dress and the hair.  The dress is absolutely stunning, and I love the red hair.  So I honestly can't choose which one I like better.

Which one did you choose?  Why?  Leave a comment!! :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cover Reveal: Derailed by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Hello lovelies!  Today I am super excited to be revealing Alyssa Rose Ivy's book, Derailed, hosted by AToMR Book Blog Tours.  Continue reading for the official cover reveal, plus an awesome-sauce giveaway!!!


by Alyssa Rose Ivy
Release Date: September 26, 2012

When you're lost, sometimes the only place you can go is home.
Broken over the death of her fiancé, Molly leaves law school to return to her childhood home in North Carolina. Expecting to lay low until she can figure out what else to do with her life, she finds herself in the arms of her high school sweetheart, the boy who represents everything from the past she tried to leave behind.

Looking for an escape, she instead finds a way back to the girl she almost forgot existed and a future she never dreamed possible.

Alyssa Rose Ivy is offering up an e-arc of this book for giveaway.
The Rules:
~There will be one winner.
~This giveaway is INT
~Must be 13 years or older.
~Fill out the Rafflecopter

About Alyssa Rose Ivy --------------->   Goodreads | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Alyssa Rose IvyAlyssa Rose Ivy is a Young Adult and New Adult author who loves to weave stories with romance and a southern setting. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.

Alyssa's Other Fabulous Works:
Beckoning Light (The Afterglow Trilogy, #1) Perilous Light (The Afterglow Trilogy, #2) Flight (The Crescent Chronicles, #1)
Beckoning Light | Perilous Light | Flight

Sunday, August 19, 2012

In My Mailbox: (#30)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we spotlight the books that we've received for review, swapped, or purchased that week.

Rift (Nightshade Prequel, #1)

Stitch (Stitch Trilogy, #1)

Hello lovelies!  So, the reason that my IMM is set up differently than how I usually set it up is that for some reason I can't add pictures that I've saved onto my computor to a post.  So I had to go to the Goodreads page of each book and copy and paste the cover.  Hopefully by next weekend it will all be fixed though :)

What did you guys get this week?
Link me up!! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Spotlight on Sacred by Elana Arnold

Hello lovelies!  I am delighted to welcome author Elana Arnold to the blog today.  Her debut novel, Sacred, is scheduled to release November 13th, so Elana asked me to do a spotlight of her book.  And I was all to happy to do so.  So today I have an awesome interview, guest post and excerpt for you!!! :)

by Elana K. Arnold
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 368

Pre-Order / Goodreads
Growing up on Catalina Island, off the California coast, Scarlett Wenderoth has led a fairly isolated life. After her brother dies, her isolation deepens as she withdraws into herself, shutting out her friends and boyfriend. Her parents, shattered by their own sorrow, fail to notice Scarlett's pain and sudden alarming thinness. Scarlett finds pleasure only on her horse, escaping to the heart of the island on long, solitary rides. One day, as she races around a bend, Scarlett is startled by a boy who raises his hand in warning and says one word: "Stop."

The boy—intense, beautiful—is Will Cohen, a newcomer to the island. For reasons he can't or won't explain, he's drawn to Scarlett and feels compelled to keep her safe. To keep her from wasting away. His meddling irritates Scarlett, though she can't deny her attraction to him. As their relationship blossoms into love, Scarlett's body slowly awakens at Will's touch. But just when her grief begins to ebb, she makes a startling discovery about Will, a discovery he's been grappling with himself. A discovery that threatens to force them apart. And if it does, Scarlett fears she will unravel all over again.


1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My driver’s license says I am 5’6” tall (I may be slightly shorter), weigh 125 pounds (I may be slightly heavier), have blonde hair (after my highlights) and blue eyes (this one’s true).
It also says I live in Long Beach, California and that I’m born in October. These are facts, as well. It doesn’t say that I collect pets (but I’m not a hoarder… really!), that I love chocolate chips straight out of the freezer, and that I dress up every year in a scarf and hat to go to the pumpkin patch, even if it’s eighty-five degrees. But it could… these things are all true, too.
2.    Why did you decide to become a writer?
I don’t think I decided to become a writer, really. I was always a writer. For a while, after some aspects of writing workshops kind of ripped out my heart a little, I tried to fool myself into believing that I was a reader, but not a writer. I am a reader, a voracious one, but I’m glad that I licked my wounds and returned to the metaphorical pen.

3.    Who were your biggest influences?
Growing up, my Nana told me the most wonderful stories. When she ran her car into a curb while looking for the address of a yard sale in the Classifieds section of the newspaper, she told me she’d been attacked by an enormous boa constrictor, and that’s why she was bruised.
Among writers, I have to say that Phillip Pullman strongly influences me. I admire how he talks about really big things without sacrificing plot. Also, I love John Irving. You can tell that he really loves his characters.

4.    Do you have a special place you like to write?
I usually write smack dab in the middle of the ruckus that is my life. Right now I’m in my favorite spot, tucked up against the arm of the couch. My dog Sherman is sleeping next to me, and my kids are within eyesight. Hairless cats (two of them) swarm by occasionally. Sometimes Bird, our little parrot, hangs out on the edge of my laptop’s screen.

5.    What's your favorite food?
Coffee. That’s a food, right?

6.    Favorite show/movie?
The Princess Bride.

7.    Favorite color?

8.    When and how did you get the idea for SACRED?
Less than two years ago, a good friend of mine told me I should write a novel about a superhero, but I guess I never do exactly what people tell me to do, because though SACRED’s Will Cohen does have a sort of superpower, and though he is in some ways heroic, things are way more complicated than that.

9.    Is there another book in the works?  If so, what can we expect?
I’m so excited to share that I have two more books that are slated to be published after SACRED.
In June of 2013, Random House/Delacorte will release BURNING. Here’s its premise:

Ben: Having just graduated from high school, Ben is set to leave Gypsum, Nevada. It’s good timing, since the gypsum mine that is the lifeblood of the area is closing, shutting the whole town down with it. Ben is lucky; he’s headed to San Diego, where he’s got a track scholarship at the University of California. His best friends, Pete and Hog Boy, aren’t as fortunate; they don’t have college to look forward to. So to make his friends happy during their last days in town, Ben goes with them to check out the hot chick parked on the side of Highway 447.

Lala: She and her Gypsy family make money the way her people have been earning it for centuries—by telling fortunes. Some customers choose Tarot cards; others have their palms read. The thousands of people attending the nearby Burning Man festival spend lots of cash—especially as Lala gives uncanny readings. But lately Lala’s been questioning whether there might be more to life than her upcoming arranged marriage. And the day she reads Ben’s cards is the day everything changes for her . . . and for him.

Told from alternating points of view, Burning brims with the passion of its two protagonists, both at crossroads in their lives, and both forever altered by a moment in time.

And guess what? SACRED has a sequel—SPLENDOR—which will be published a year after SACRED, in November of 2013.



“Ah, Kabbalah. It is sometimes easier to define something by what it is not. Kabbalah is not a book . . . it is not a single answer . . . it is not supposed to be easy.”

So says Martin Cohen, Kabbalah scholar and Will’s father. He’s speaking to the main character of Sacred, Scarlett Wenderoth—a girl torn apart by grief and searching for answers.
I knew some things about Scarlett and Will right away—I knew how she feels when he touches her hand. I knew about the tension between them, her desire to lean forward into his kiss counterbalanced against her growing need to deny herself pleasure. I knew the searing green shade of his eyes.
And I knew Will was on Catalina Island for a reason… but I turned to Kabbalah to find answers about the mystical powers he possesses. I wanted to ground his abilities in something learned, something ancient, something… sacred.
Do you know what I love? Bookstores. A quick perusal of my bookcase gives you a general idea of how much money I’ve dedicated to my Kabbalah collection. Here’s an abbreviated list of titles:
On the Mystic Shape of the Godhead
The Essential Kabbalah
A Guide to the Zohar
Omens of Millennium
The Thirteen-Petalled Rose
Kabbalah Revealed
Kabbalah: The Way of the Jewish Mystic
Kabbalah for Teens
Radical Judaism: Rethinking God and Religion
God in Your Body
And there are more. Plus all the books I bought doing research for Sacred’s sequel, Splendor. I also purchased my weight in sticky tabs and highlighters.
Ultimately, only a fraction of my research ended up on the pages of Sacred. But everything I learned infused the novel, informing the characters, the setting, the symbols, all the choices I consciously made—and probably also tons of choices I made unconsciously.
Then there are the scholars I’ve spoken with—rabbis, Orthodox and Reform, men and women alike. The research for this book forced me to look inward, at my own beliefs and preconceptions.
But Sacred isn’t all about Kabbalah. I don’t think it’s even primarily about Kabbalah. Really it’s about Scarlett—her pain, and her journey. And her connection to Will Cohen, the central mystery (and swoon-worthy hero) of the story.
As I’ve reread the drafts of Sacred as it gets closer to its publication date of November 13th, I find myself listening to the sage words of Martin Cohen—his warnings as well as his encouragements. It’s easy to forget that, in a way, like all the characters, Martin is a piece of me. He knows more than I do, it seems, he’s older and wiser and a guide I’d like to have in my “real” life.
When I was a high school student, I detested research. But this project ate me up, and I loved every minute of it. Apparently the trick is to research the things you’re curious about rather than topics assigned to you.
What about you? Have you ever gotten lost in research?


His face was white with fear as Delilah came at him at a full-out gallop, but he stayed stock-still and as solidly rooted to the ground as the oak tree that had hidden him from my view.
His nostrils flared, not unlike Delilah’s, and even as my mare and I barreled toward him, his gaze did not waver. At his sides were his hands, clenched into fists.
Unflinchingly, he stared at me and held up one of his hands. “Stop.”
It was just one word, and though his voice was not raised, it resonated somehow, and without consciously deciding to, I obeyed. I leaned back in my saddle and pulled firmly on the reins. “Whoa!” I told Delilah. She tossed her head, unwilling, but I increased the pressure on the reins. In front of me, the boy didn’t move. Good thing Delilah stopped, or we would have collided.
“What the hell are you doing out here in the middle of the trail?” I snapped, throwing my right leg across the saddle and sliding to the ground. “You could have gotten both of us hurt.”
“I’m sorry,” he murmured. “I didn’t mean to cause you trouble. That is the last thing I want to do.”
He fixed his eyes on me. “I’m Will,” he said, offering his hand. “Will Cohen.”
Will tilted his head slightly to one side, waiting with his hand extended while I tried to diagnose his motives before I finally gave up and thrust my hand toward his.
“Scarlett Wenderoth,” I murmured in the second before our hands connected. Then our fingers touched, and I don’t think I could have told anyone my name at all.
His grip was warm and firm, and he held my hand rather than shook it, as if sealing a promise. His other hand came up to grasp mine too.
Then Delilah nudged me with her muzzle, her warm breath sending shivers down my body, and I felt a colder breeze than I’d felt all summer. Fall was coming. I smelled it all around me. I pulled my hand free.
“I’m really sorry,” Will said, his eyes pleading. “But I thought . . . I thought you were in some kind of trouble.”
I snorted. “Trouble? I don’t think so. I’ve been riding these trails all my life. I know this island better than my bedroom.”
Somehow, saying “bedroom” to this boy sent a blush across my cheeks, though he didn’t seem to notice.
“Yeah,” he said softly, as if contemplating something very important. “You did seem in complete control . . . and I don’t see anyone else nearby.” His eyes scanned the terrain as if searching for predators.
“What’s the matter with you?”

Will shook his head. “I don’t know. Something . . .”
He stopped abruptly and walked away, stumbling as if drunk, his head bowed in what looked like pain, his hand massaging his temple.
I watched him as he wandered back along the trail and rounded the corner of the large oak tree. Then he disappeared from view.
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