Book Promo Feature–Clarence by Stephanie Baruffi

YAPC would like to welcome Stephanie Baruffi to the blog today. She is here to share some info about  her new debut release Clarence. If this looks like you or your child would enjoy, please pick up a copy! The ebook is on sale for a limited time, so pick up a copy today!

Book Description:


Kids everywhere will be able to relate to this story of a boy who struggles with feeling different. This story highlights heritage, hurting, and healing. Journey with Clarence to learn how he overcomes his insecurity, to embrace that which makes him unique and discovering that no matter what others say he is truly beautifully and wonderfully made.

Buy Clarence:

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * Publisher


Clarence’s family gathered around the dinner table. At the head of the table sat Clarence’s father, who had just finished a long day’s work at the family business. After he prayed with the family, they dug into a delicious
Italian meal that included chicken cutlets, homemade meatballs, and pasta Fagioli. Each night during dinner, the family hollered back and forth across the table. Everyone talked in multiple conversations as Clarence watched
and wondered why. Clarence was a shy boy and didn’t seem to understand why everyone shouted, especially all at once! As Clarence looked around the table, he noticed that each member of his family had black hair, brown
eyes, and dark skin. He also realized that all of their ears were of normal size and each of them seemed to look much like the other. But Clarence was the exception. He thought that maybe the kids at school were right about him.
This made Clarence lose his appetite, so he asked to be excused. Nonna the Great followed Clarence into his bedroom.


About the Author: Stephanie Baruffi lives in New Jersey with her husband and three sons. She is an Early Stephanie BaruffiLiteracy Specialist and obtained her Master’s Degree in 2014. She is also an NJ state certified Reading Specialist. ‘Clarence’ was written in memory of her late grandfather, for which the book was named. He loved his big family and truly did have a big, beautiful set of ears.

Connect with Stephanie:

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Instagram

Book Promo Feature–An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps by Iris Dorbian

YAPC would like to welcome back Iris Dorbian to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt of her book An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps. If this looks like something you would like to read, go get a copy!

Book Description:

An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the CampsAn Epiphany In Lilacs is a young adult novel set in a DP camp outside Hamburg, Germany following the end of World War II. The author, Iris Dorbian, captures in this story a unique glimpse into the period after the Holocaust when survivors had to deal with their new realities for living, based on her father’s personal experience. After liberation in May 1945, Daniel, a 14-year-old Latvian Jew, is treated in a field hospital in the British zone of partitioned Germany. A survivor of various concentration camps, Daniel fights to recover from starvation and disease. Racked by nightmares, a nearly nightly occurrence, Daniel finds sleep almost impossible. Through his love of nature, and pre-war memories, Daniel struggles to find comfort. He forms an intriguing bond with an older German gentile, another survivor. Later on, as he joins a theater troupe, Daniel tries to move on with his life, yet still searching for the whereabouts of his mother and two sisters. Poised on the cusp of a new life, young Daniel makes his way to the country that will become his new home.

Buy An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps:

Amazon * B&N


As Daniel staggered into the latrine, he saw a ramshackle half mirror nailed haphazardly to the wall. Composed of lattices of wood, it was the only part of the hospital that looked like a construction afterthought. Either it was the first time it had been put in there or he never noticed it before, having other pressing things on his mind.

Daniel gasped. He looked like a fifty-five-year-old man. Everything about him reeked of lifelessness – from the opaque hazel eyes to the stooped posture resembling a fading, elderly gnome in the final throes of osteoporosis to the branches of bones sticking out through brittle veiny skin. Even his ears protruded with an extraterrestrial freakishness he found alarming. There was nothing youthful about him. His complexion was cadaverously sallow. No, it was worse than that. The flesh was imbued with a color no presumably alive human being could have. All vestiges of innocence were summarily robbed from him and what remained was the hollowed out hulk of a frightened, damaged old man-child.


About the Author: Iris Dorbian is a business and arts journalist whose articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, Buyouts, Investopedia, DMNews, Jerusalem Report, the Forward, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News. From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions. She is the author of “Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater,” which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Jewish Literary Journal, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Adanna Literary Journal,, Skirt! and Gothesque Magazine. A New Jersey native, Iris has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. You can friend her on Facebook at

Connect with Iris:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Pinterest * Instagram

Book Promo Feature–Operation Child Soldier by Jaci Wheeler

YAPC would like to welcome Jaci Wheeler to the blog today. She is here to share an excerpt and some info about her newest release Operation Child Soldier that is currently on preorder and releases May 2. If this looks like something you would enjoy reading, please go pick up a copy!

Book Description:

Operation Child Soldier

I was trained from birth to be the best Agent possible. Growing up in a Military Training Academy for unwanted children has its perks. I might not have ever been to a dance but I am a sharp shooter, master at hand to hand combat and best hacker the Academy has ever seen. I trained my whole life to pass the final and become an Elite agent. The only problem? My entire life has been a lie. My father is a monster and I’ve been trained to kill monsters.

Buy Operation Child Soldier:

Amazon * Website


Present, Denmark
“Hej, det er Mette,” I answer in Danish.
“Mette? This is Bastian’s pre-school. We thought he might be hiding but we have searched the entire school but cannot find him.”
The mother in me wants to break into hysterics. They found us. How did they find us? I’ve been so careful. It’s been years, so how did they find us now? Calm yourself, Mette; you can break down later once you find Bastian. I immediately shove the hysterical woman aside and bring forth the cold, hard spy. She can handle this efficiently. Assess the situation and proceed. Taking a deep breath in, I exhale and ask the important questions.
“How long was he gone before the teacher went to look for him?”
“Fifteen minutes.”
“How long did you search before you called me?” I can tell I am scaring her now, and that isn’t my intention, but the faster I can get these answers the faster I can get him back.
“About twenty minutes.”
We have been on the phone for about ten, so that means they have forty-five minutes to an hour head start. Crap! They could already be out of the country by now. It’s time to end this conversation now and get my child back.
“Thank you for letting me know; I appreciate it. A relative probably picked him up, I will find out and let you know.” This is clearly not the reaction she is expecting and I can hear the panic in her voice.
“Oh no, Miss; we would have known if someone picked him up early. He would have to be signed out and you have a very strict rule that you are to be the only one listed. This is very serious; we must call the police.”
Time to break out the rusty acting skills, Mette; your son’s life depends on it. If the police are called, I will never get out of here in time so I force a laugh and add a tinge of airhead to my voice.
“Oh silly me, I bet it was my father. He is in visiting from the States.” Truth.
“He mentioned he might pick Bastian up and take him out for a treat. I assumed he knew what time school let out, but it is much earlier in the States so I bet he got confused.” Lie. I hold my breath and pray she buys it; I don’t have time for this. I quickly look at my watch and scan the area once again. Nothing.
“The States? I thought you were Danish?” Good, focus on that. I switch from the Danish we were speaking to perfect English.
“No, my mother is Danish, but my father is American. I was born here and he left several years later,” I say in perfect English that obviously shocks her from the intake of breath I hear. It doesn’t matter what she knows now because our cover is seriously blown anyway.
“Hi, baby. Did you have fun with grandpa? I’m so glad you are home; you scared me to death. Bastian just walked in so I really must run and scold my father for scaring us. I am so sorry, and please apologize to the teacher for me, but I must get him in the bath and wash his sticky hands and face. Have a nice day.”
Before she can protest, I hang up the phone. I have no other option without knowing who he sent or which direction they went. I have only one option: to call the monster himself. He doesn’t want Bastian; he wants me. My son just happens to be the pawn in his sick and twisted little game.
Tears start to prick the back of my eyes and make my vision blurry. I force them away quickly and allow my anger to fuel my hatred for the man who robbed me of my youth. I hide Mette away and bring back Aria, the assassin with the cold heart. She will serve me well.
Knowing exactly where he will be, I dial the number I swore I’d never use again. He picks up after only one ring. The snake was waiting for me.
“Aria. Or should I say, Mette?” He has the gall to laugh. The smugness is flowing off his tongue and all I can think of is how I will cut it out. Later, after I get Bastian back. And I will get him back. And then Edward will pay, and anyone else who is stupid enough to stand in my way.
“Edward,” I say my voice dripping with venom. “Name your price. It must be high for you to be so stupid.”
“Oh, my dear sweet Aria. Always were the cocky one, weren’t you? But you are right to be so. The apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree does it, my dear?”
“Edward, you are trying my patience so you have exactly five minutes to give me back my son or so help me I will serve your heart on a platter. This. Is. Not. An. Idle. Threat!” I say, enunciating each and every word so he knows just how serious I am. He knows not only that I would do it, but that I could do so very easily because he taught me how.
“You will get him back once you do something for me. I have one last job that only you can do, Aria, and then you will get your precious son back.”
“You self-serving, arrogant…”
“Do you really want to waste time name-calling or do you want him back?” He asks, the smugness slipping back in his tone. I hate his tone almost as much as I hate him.
“You have exactly one hour to grab the go bag I know you have stashed away somewhere and board a plane to the States. I will have someone meet you at the airport to go over your assignment.” He’s so assured that I will comply. Little does he know I’m done blindly following his rules. If he thinks he can get me that easily, he has clearly underestimated me.
“That is where you are wrong, Edward. I am not following your rules. You will play by my rules from now on, do you hear me? You think you can waltz back into my life, steal my son, and tell me what I’m going to do? Have you forgotten who you are messing with? Your biggest mistake is taking the only thing left I care about, because now I’m not only dangerous, but I have nothing left to lose. You have exactly ten minutes to bring my son back. And Edward, unlike you, I don’t make idle threats,” I say and hang up.
Aria is back. And she’s going to love making them scream.


About the Author: Jaci Wheeler lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband and two precious Jaci Wheelerkids.

Her love of literature began in Jr. High when she was introduced to Lowis Lowry’s books. Since then she has had a passion for writing Young Adult books, and creating strong female leads. When she’s not writing she is advocating for Autism Awareness and involved in the deaf community.

Her favorite things to do are play with her children, craft with her friends, sleep while her husband watches movies and indulge in her favorite addictions: Coffee, candy and shoes.

Connect with Jaci:

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Goodreads

Book Promo Feature–Webster The Unhinged Edition by Anne Wentworth

YAPC would like to welcome Anne Wentworth to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt of her latest release Webster the Unhinged Edition. If this looks like something you would enjoy, please go get a copy!

Book Description:

Webster the Unhinged EditionPreviously published 2016 Kindle Select. Webster Harmon has a gift. When the veils come down, spirits show themselves, and he can communicate with them. Tandy, the woman who runs the group home where he lives, manages to find out about his gift and reports Webster as being mentally ill. As a result of this, Webster is sent to a psychiatric unit.

After being released, the only reason for returning to the group home instead of risking a life on the street, is Webster’s love for Beth, one of the other teens living in the group home. Beth is the one person who makes life with Tandy tolerable.

On his way back to Tandy’s, Webster meets Reggae. Reggae’s been living on the street since his uncle died, so Webster brings him along to see if he can stay at the group home. When Webster returns, he finds Beth terrified because Tandy wants to send her for a trial to live with a couple who may have less than honorable intentions.

With the help of his new friend Reggae, Webster is determined to keep Beth safe. When the spirits reveal Tandy’s secrets, Webster decides to make his move to get all three of them out of there and to a better life–even if it means using his gift to break the rules.

Buy Webster the Unhinged Edition:

Amazon * B&N * Blue Swan Publishing


Leaving the psychiatric unit was a mixture of both relief and angst. I just wanted to get back to Beth. After two weeks of being away from her, I’d started to come apart. Not cool when you’re trying to present as a sane person. Every moment away from her made my heart ache. I listened for the sound of the lock clicking its release, then pushed against the heavy door. Even the air in the waiting area was better than I’d been subjected to on the hospital unit. Hospital smells were the worst to assault a person’s nose. The constant cleaning did little to make any of it disappear. I tried to imagine which smell might win a contest for most offensive, but it would be hard to pick a winner from this environment. Was it the alcohol swab, fresh out of its small wrapper, its sting hitting the air before the nurse swabbed for an injection? Was it from the patients who sat in the smoking lounge—the stink from their cigarettes grasping onto them like a thousand demons slashing at anyone who came within two feet? What about the chronic drug users with their crater-sized, infected abscesses? One of the nurses told me it was the result of shooting up with puddle water. The stench that drifted down the hallway from that was unforgettable. I know; it’s burned into my cellular memory. Today, I would get to leave it behind. Going back to Tandy’s place didn’t exactly thrill me. If it wasn’t for Beth, I’d have walked right out of there and lived on the street.

I went through the large double doors of the psychiatric unit, finding the waiting area quiet. Clearly, housekeeping hadn’t managed to make it in here. The cheap side tables sat littered with takeaway coffee cups and crumpled chip bags. But the space was free of hospital stink, and for that I was grateful. I felt a presence come up from behind, Bhotu. The orderly paused, his discomfort obvious in the stillness and silence of the space. Why he was reacting this way, I had no clue. It wasn’t as though any visitors had shown up during the two weeks.

“To be honest, I’m surprised. I thought she’d come to pick you up. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with just leaving you here.” Bhotu took his hand away from the door, allowing the one side to close. The resounding click of the door locking into place punctuated his statement. The doors automatically locked to prevent patients from leaving the unit and visitors from entering. Although referred to as a secured unit, I found the term prison much more fitting. At least calling it a prison seemed more honest. During my latest stay at the Hotel Crazy, I’d learned much about Bhotu and his surprising life. He’d come from a background of poverty and had made it to America. Bhotu had wanted more from life and had made up his mind to change his stars. Not once had Bhotu judged me. That was rare.

“I had my birthday the day I arrived here. I’m seventeen, and Tandy has reminded me that I only have a year left before I age out of the system.” I didn’t tell Bhotu about the other part of the conversation—about Tandy being so horrible and making good on her threat to have me evaluated again because she didn’t like my kind. This wasn’t new to me. Living in the group home under Tandy’s ever-changing rules and mood swings had left me exhausted. Trying to survive Tandy was like being on an endless hamster wheel of stupid. After years of struggling, I felt like a piece of material with frayed ends and threads hanging. Was I finally unraveling?

My throat tightened with the thought of having to deal with Tandy again. Tandy, the one preaching religion to the bunch of us even though it was against all policy. Tandy, who lectured about morals when she didn’t display any herself. Tandy, who doled out dessert according to which one of us she liked on any particular day. Some people just didn’t have the patience to work with youth. I’d never told her that, but I’d gotten at her with my gift. Beth was the only reason I stayed at the group home. If it wasn’t for Beth, I wouldn’t give a damn about leaving Tandy and her crap behind.

“In good conscience, how can I let you go?” Bhotu’s face mirrored the annoyance and hurt that had edged his words. Suddenly, there was a movement in my peripheral vision. A spirit. The veils came down, making the spirit’s form more visible. Since I was a child, I’d been able to communicate with the spirit world. Try telling that to a psychiatrist and not be locked away for the rest of your life. The message was about Bhotu and how shocked and angry he was about Tandy putting me in the hospital. This spirit wanted me to understand that Bhotu was on my side. I stared at the big orderly, feeling a real connection to him. I’m large for seventeen, but Bhotu towers over most people. It’s an asset to be big and strong on a psychiatric unit. There are times when you have to control people physically. It’s not easy and some fight hard. A person freaking out can do lots of damage. I witnessed one girl having a psychotic episode. She’d thought there were spiders crawling on her body and had fought like a wildcat. It had taken three people to hold her for the injection. I don’t think the girl could have weighed more than a hundred pounds, but man could she fight! I glanced up to find Bhotu patiently studying me.

“How about if I walk back? I promise I’ll go back to Tandy’s place. You can call and check to find out. Hey, man, don’t worry. It’s okay. Maybe she got hung up with something.” I adjusted the backpack on my shoulder. Now late spring, the weather was warm, and the walk would do me good. Besides, I needed to think and plan. My room at the Tandy Inn might have already been designated to someone else. Was I going to get pushed along and into yet another bad situation?

“I am disgusted she did not meet you, considering she was the one who sent you here.” Bhotu shook his head. I understood that he wasn’t comfortable just letting me walk out of the hospital alone. The spirit held up a long rope of braided gold that went between Bhotu and I. It was a message about how anguished Bhotu was over my circumstances.

“Will you be okay? Here, take this.” Without warning, he pushed several bills at me. I don’t think I can remember the last time someone gave me some money. I took it, tucking the bills into the pocket of my jeans.

“Thanks, man. You are one of the few people I’ve met in the medical world that didn’t want to shoot me full of antipsychotics.” I was relieved when he smiled. I just wanted to get out of there and into the sunshine.

“Keep care. Despite what some say, I do not believe you are ill. I believe you came to earth with something extra. Something good. Don’t let those that would tell you otherwise taint your heart.” Bhotu inclined his head, his palms pressed together in front of him. I returned the gesture. Over my stay on the psych unit, I’d learned much from Bhotu. He may have been an orderly, but he did more for the patients than most of the doctors on staff. He listened, and he didn’t judge. One time I’d heard some of the staff making fun of his heavy accent when they’d thought he was out of earshot. I’d got the distinct feeling that Bhotu had heard, but hadn’t said anything back. The guy was calm and cool. I’d miss him. If anyone ought to be running a place for homeless and troubled teens, it should be Bhotu.

“Stay cool, man,” I said, heading for the doors to get outside.


About the Author: Star-gazing, storms, coffee, chocolate and writing. If you follow the compass of your heart, you can never go wrong. If it’s paranormal – count me in! I love being spooked and have a few real ghost stories of my own to tell.

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Book Promo Feature–The Mysterious Package by Christa Nardi

YAPC would like to welcome Christa Nardi to the blog today. She is here to share an excerpt and some info about her book The Mysterious Package. If this looks like a book you would enjoy, please go pick up a copy! 99 cents for a limited time only!

The Mysterious PackageBook Description:

On the long ride to Vermont, Hannah and Tamar are quick to offer assistance when a fellow passenger – a girl in her late teens – is hassled by a rough-looking young man. Grateful as she may be for their help, Gwen thrusts a mysterious package into Tamar’s hand and disappears in the Rutland train station. Hannah and Tamar set out to locate Gwen and unravel the secret of the mysterious package.

Buy The Mysterious Package:



(From Chapter 1)

The scenery flew by as Hannah and Tamar rode the first leg on Amtrak from Baltimore, Maryland to Rutland, Vermont. It was the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and the girls were on the way to their grandparents’ house to help prepare for Thanksgiving Day. The rest of the family would arrive Wednesday or Thursday.
It hadn’t been easy to get the high school to excuse the students from two days’ classes the following week. But both were honor students and they had promised to keep up with their school work. With over eight hours of train ride, Wi-Fi, and available plug-ins, the girls would have plenty of time to get their pesky homework out of the way.
Even though Tamar and Hannah had travelled this route many times, the scenery distracted them. They enjoyed the view of the cities, small towns, and landscape. As the train edged north, vestiges of the last snowstorms were evident. Dirtied piles of snow, not big enough to even call drifts, dotted the landscape.
“Leave me alone!” A woman’s high-pitched plea shattered the constant drone of conversation and the hum of the train as it moved along the tracks.
Both girls turned toward the source of the scream. A girl, about their age, was pushing a young man away. She had medium brown, straight hair to her waist that swung from side to side as she tried to pull away from the man. Conversation stopped as passengers watched the two, but nobody moved. Hannah and Tamar exchanged glances and as one they walked up to the pair.
“Hi! Do you know where the restrooms are?” Tamar asked the man. As she spoke, she and Hannah positioned themselves on either side of the girl. While her polite words and sweet tone were innocent enough, the sisters stood firm and stared him down.
Up close, the young man appeared to be a few years older than the girl. He had dark hair, piercing blue eyes and the shadow of a beard. His wrinkled shirt, dirty jeans, and more than hint of body odor contrasted sharply with the girl’s coral V-neck cashmere sweater and black designer pants. She clutched her Kate Spade bag and tears trickled down her cheeks.
He glared at Tamar without speaking. When Tamar held his gaze, he released the girl’s arm and slithered away.
“I’m Hannah, and this is my sister Tamar. Are you okay?”
“I… I think so. I’m Gwen Singleton. Thank you. Can you believe that jerk followed me from the Café Car.” She considered the two girls in their casual jeans and sweaters. “I think I’ll go back to my seat now. Business class.” With a forced smile, Gwen sashayed down the aisle and into the next car.
“I wonder what that was all about.”


About the Author: Christa Nardi is and always has been an avid reader. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery/crime authors over time, but mystery/crime along with romance and scifi/fantasy are her preferred choices for leisure reading. Christa also has been a long time writer from poetry and short stories to the Cold Creek mystery series. For this new series, Christa has teamed up with Cassidy Salem, author of the Adina Donati Accidental Sleuth series.

Connect with Christa:

Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

Interview with Shane Morales Author of Scars of Youth

YAPC would like to welcome Shane Morales to the blog today. He is here to answer some of our questions and share some info about his book Scars of Youth. If this looks like something you would enjoy, please go grab a copy!

YAPC: Try to describe your book in one sentence.

Shane: Set at a boarding school in Switzerland during the eighties, Scars of Youth is the first part of a two-part series about the power of first love and second chances.

YAPC: How would my friends describe me in 20 words or less?

Shane: I think they’d say that I’m compassionate, rational, and dorky. They might also say that I’m my own worst enemy.

YAPC: State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

Shane: I like to watch Shoujo anime series, which are sweet love stories about high-school kids in Japan, and are aimed at teen girls.

YAPC: Do you listen to music while writing?

Shane: Yes. I always have music playing when I’m at my computer desk. I find that soothing heavy metal from the early eighties helps me focus on my writing.

YAPC: Which scenes were the hardest to write?

Shane: In Scars of Youth, the scenes where Jessica struggles with her guilt and shame, and falls into a dark depression. It was hard to make her suffer.

YAPC: Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

Shane: From Scars of Youth, I see myself in both Jessica and Kyle. I’m similar to Kyle in terms of what he likes and the rational way he tends to think, but it’s Jessica that I relate to on an emotional level. Despite being told from both Kyle’s and Jessica’s point-of-view, Scars of Youth is really Jessica’s story. And I based that story on my own life experiences, so I have a deep connection with her that I don’t with Kyle.

YAPC: What inspired you to write, you took any ideas from other books, movies etc?

Shane: Shoujo anime series like Kimi ni Todoke, Lovely Complex, and Toradora first started the gears turning. It was while watching these anime series that I began to want to write a teen love story of my own. The more I thought about what sort of story I might write, the more I started to draw upon my own life experiences, until I had a burning need to tell the story that was developing within me.

YAPC: What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

Shane: The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno. It’s awesome.

YAPC: How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Shane: I think communication with my readers is very important. I always reply to their messages and I read all of the reviews, even the bad ones. I think it’s every writer’s desire to develop relationships with their readers from readers to fans to friends.

YAPC: Do you ever run into someone who says “You write WHAT?”

Shane: People are always surprised when they find out I write young adult romance, because I’m a middle-aged male with long hair, a beard, and tattoos, who wears all black clothing. Young adult romance is definitely not what my image projects.

YAPC: What projects are you currently working on right now? Would you mind sharing them with us?

Shane: I’m currently working on a young adult tragedy. Like Scars of Youth, it is also set in the eighties, against the backdrop of A tiny American compound in Saudi Arabia. It highlights the unique and somewhat magical upbringing that my friends and I experienced as American kids growing up in Saudi. It’s a sad story, but hopefully will leave readers with a sense of hope. I think the famous saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all” aptly summarizes the message of the story.

*****Content Warnings: Scars of Youth explores sexual themes and contains strong language. It is recommended for 16+ readers.

Book Description:

Scars of YouthIs first love forever?

Twenty-five year old Jessica Fowler has lived with the regret of the love she abandoned. Her heart still belongs to the boy she fell in love with in high-school, but she’s come to accept that she can never regain the love she lost.

Kyle Andersen has moved to a new city and is determined to make a new life for himself, but he still feels incomplete. He’s never gotten over the girl who broke his heart when he was just fifteen, and the love he still feels for her anchors him to his past.

On the same night, the two remember each other, and they think back to that one year in high-school that came to define their lives.

This is their story.

Set at boarding school in Switzerland, Scars of Youth is the emotional first book in a unique series about the power of first love and second chances.

Buy Scars of Youth:

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * Apple

About the Author: My name is Shane and I’m a young-at-heart romantic. I love to read young adult love stories, and watch shoujo anime about high-school kids falling in love. I’m inspired by these stories to write my own tales of young love.

Connect with Shane:

Website * Facebook

Book Promo Feature–The Treasure of Gwenlais The Rienfield Chronicles Book 1 by M.T. Magee

YAPC would like to welcome M.T. Magee to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt about her book The Treasure of Gwenlais The Rienfield Chronicles Book 1. If this looks like something you would be interested in reading, please go pick up a copy! It’s on sale for $2.99 for a limited time!

Book Description:

 The Treasure of Gwenlais The Rienfield Chronicles Book 12015 Silver Medal Winner of Ireland’s Drunken Druid Award
Finalist for IAN Book of the Year Award 2016
2016 Finalist Award for Readers’ Favorite Book Awards
#1 On Listopia’s Best Fantasy Romance (not urban).

Can a reluctant Princess fulfill her destiny to heal the torn Kingdoms and the heart of a battle hardened warrior Prince?

Join Laurel on an extraordinary journey of discovery, danger, wonder, and finding a love she only dared dream of. Come with her to find the truth of who she is, and those who will do anything to stop her from making the words of the Olden Scribes a reality. A love story that will leave you breathless and believing in the wonder of Scottish and Irish folklore and fairy tales.

This is the epic world of Rienfield. A domain filled with beauty, danger, amazing races and cultures. You will find the love and strong ties of family. As well as romance, humor, adventure and tragedy, while the people and beings of Rienfield, search for peace and truth in their way of life.

Buy The Treasure of Gwenlais The Rienfield Chronicles Book 1:



The Scimitar

Laurel looked over and saw that there were several children standing in the path in front of her, crying and holding on to each other, as their parents tried to reassure them that everything would be alright, pleading with them not to move or run. Laurel stepped backwards a bit more which caused the Scimitar to move slowly forward its body twitching with anticipation as it could now be fully seen by all.
“Laurel! Laurel I am begging you, please stop moving,” Caleb called out to her, his voice choked with emotion, as he guessed what she was about to do.
“Laurel, please,” Imagin whispered, her eyes filled with tears.
Laurel looked over at her and then at Caleb, her own eyes wide and fearful but determined. She looked over at the screaming children, still clinging to each other, crying out to their parents, their arms outstretched, the parents now as hysterical as their children. Laurel then looked over again at Caleb with sad eyes and shook her head, as she continued to back away slowly, the Scimitar cat inching forward towards her.
“No, please dearest,” Caleb said, in a choked voice.
With tears running down her face, Laurel gave him a sad smile, then suddenly and without warning, she turned and ran into the forest in front of her, as the Scimitar sprang forward.
“No!” Caleb shouted, as he and Aiden ran forward as well.
Gawain stepped directly in the path of the Scimitar, but to no avail, as the large cat simply tossed him aside with its massive paw, cutting into Gawain’s side. Gawain was only able to graze the Scimitar with his sword.
Aaron ran to the horses to retrieve he and Aiden’s crossbows, as Caleb and Aiden continued their pursuit of Laurel and the Scimitar.
Aaron, grabbing Aiden’s crossbow, and then leaping upon his own horse galloped in pursuit of the two brothers. Laurel was able to gain only a small lead from Gawain’s efforts, as she continued to run forward frantically, her blood running cold as she heard the Scimitar’s growls as it pursued her. She did not turn to see it catch up to her, afraid it would stop her from running. She could also hear the frantic cries of Caleb and Aiden, yelling at her to not stop. Aaron caught up to them, yelling he had the crossbows. Aiden stopped just long enough to grab his bow and continued running. Aaron continued on horseback firing a shot at the Scimitar, finding his mark, the large cat screaming in anger, but not stopping its pursuit. To Caleb’s horror he saw the Scimitar leap forward and knock Laurel to the ground, as it landed on her back, grabbing the back of her cape. Laurel could feel the tips of the Scimitar’s claws beginning to pierce through her clothing into her shoulders. Then it let out a scream and released its grasp. Laurel did not think, only reacted as she tore the clasp from her cape and stood up and continued to run forward. Her mind only thinking of escaping, having no idea where she was going, not feeling the pain of the cuts and bruises the animal had inflicted upon her. The Scimitar screamed in pain and rage as Aiden and Aaron’s arrows found their mark once again, hitting the enormous cat in the side. The Scimitar then noticed its quarry escaping and continued its frenzied pursuit, slowed noticeably by its injuries. Laurel continued running as fast as she could through the forest, noticing the trees thinning out in front of her. As she continued to run, she began to feel breathless and exhausted but she could not stop running every nerve in her body screaming at her not to stop. As Laurel reached what appeared to be a break in the trees, she cried out, as she frantically grabbed a low branch that prevented her from falling off the cliff into the deep heavily flowing river below. Her chest was heaving as she tried to catch her breath, her eyes wide with terror as she looked at the black swirling waters below her. Suddenly she heard the deafening roar of the Scimitar and desperate cries from Caleb as the predator continued its tireless pursuit of her. Laurel moaned in fear and exhaustion, as she realized what she had to do. She would not let the ferocious animal tear her apart. She looked up quickly and saw Caleb running desperately to reach her, but almost upon her was the vicious Scimitar.
Forgive me my Prince, she thought to herself, as tears streamed from her eyes.
She turned and closing her eyes, jumped off the high steep rock face, into the terrifying nothingness, feeling her body fall downward. She heard another roar and then felt the icy shock of the water as she fell into the river, feeling it engulf and consume her. The Scimitar nearly had her in its grasp as Laurel jumped forward, it blindly following her. Caleb cried out in terror and anguish as he saw his beloved and the Scimitar both leap off the cliff into the river below. Caleb ran forward watching her fall beneath the dark swirling water, the Scimitar hitting the water only seconds behind. It surfaced instantly as Aiden and Aaron unleashed their arrows into the beast. Caleb then went to jump forward as he screamed out Laurel’s name, only to be grabbed by Aiden.
“You cannot help her if you are injured yourself!” he shouted, trying to reason with him. “The trail to the bottom is right here! Hurry! This way!” Aiden directed Caleb to follow him.
They ran down the steep path as quickly as they could, not even noticing that Gawain had taken one of the horses and rode down another path to the river’s edge, as he knew were the forest would lead them. Even though it had only taken moments to reach the bottom of the trail, to Caleb it seemed an agonizing eternity. He tore off his coat and boots as he frantically scanned the river for any signs of Laurel. Suddenly his prayers were answered as she surfaced and raising up her arms and gasping for breath, only to sink below the water’s surface once again. Caleb ran forward and dove into the water, as he sank below the inky blackness. Aiden, Aaron and Gawain, stood breathless for a moment waiting for Caleb to reappear. Caleb then burst out of the water’s surface with Laurel in his arms. Aiden and Aaron ran forward to assist him. Grabbing on to Caleb to help him get back to shore.
“She is not breathing!” Caleb said frantically, as he put Laurel on the ground and turned her over.
He hit her back firmly with the flat of his hand several times, his efforts rewarded, with Laurel suddenly coughing and gasping for air, as she spit out water. Turning her back over quickly as she looked at him with a wide eyed frantic expression, still trying to catch her breath. Caleb held her tightly in his arms pushing her hair out of her face, as Aiden and the two Sentinels kneeled down next to them, sighing loudly in relief.
“Breath my love, just breathe. I have you…I have you. It is over, just breathe,” Caleb said breathlessly, as she held her close, his lips against her forehead.
Laurel coughed a few more times before exhaling deeply, as she was finally able to catch her breath. Caleb looked into her face, to see if she was aware. She smiled at him weakly, raising her hand to touch his cheek, before losing consciousness. Caleb held her to him, for a moment burying his face into the side of her face and neck, his shoulders shaking from silent sobs of relief.


About the Author: Hi Everyone, My name is M.T.Magee and I am the proud Silver medal recipient of 2015 The M.T. MageeDrunken Druid Award, based in Ireland. I am also a Finalist for IAN Book of the Year Award 2016 for First Novel. On Sept. 1st 2016 I received the Finalist Award for Best Fantasy Romance from Readers’ Favorite Book Awards
I write bestselling YA historical medieval fantasy that is beautifully romantic with whispers of Gaelic legend and mystical Kingdoms.

I live in New England on our small farm with my husband and son. We raise an assortment of silly goats, quiet rabbits, far too many ducks and chickens, and a high strung Border Collie cross named Gronk. I have always loved fantasy and fell in love with Tolkien at age eleven. I read all of his works at age twelve. I have been writing stories since I was ten years old and have always wanted to be an author. After fulfilling my dream of becoming a nurse, marrying the love of my life and having two wonderful sons, I have finally been able to fulfill my first dream of publishing my first book. My youngest son is severely disabled and I am his full-time caregiver. The long winter months here in New England make it virtually impossible to go out very often, so I used this time to begin my story The Treasure of Gwenlais. Fifteen months and 1144 pages later I am very happy to present my story to all of you. I love strong female characters, who are still able to convey a sense of vulnerability and be very relateable. I also love strong male leads who are not afraid to show their soft side. Love of family is important to me as I am sure it is to everyone and I convey this in my story.

So welcome to the world I have created and I hope you enjoy visiting often. I hope you all enjoy the brilliant work of my cover artist Tyler Donnelly.

The world I have created, comes from the inspiration of both my Scottish heritage and my husband’s Irish descent, with pride and respect for both cultures. The beauty of the Scottish Highlands, as well as the lush rolling meadows of Ireland, serve as a backdrop for the mythical realm of Rienfield. Many of the names of villages and towns that are used are actual names of towns and villages of Scotland and Ireland. They are used in direct correlation for what their rich past made them known for and is applied with loving respect for their history in the story. Many of the names of the characters are Irish, Scottish, or Gaelic, again showing my love and admiration for our heritages. The characters also speak Old Irish, from time to time, referring to it as ‘old speak.’ I hope you will find this as fascinating and beautiful as I did. You will find the Kingdoms of Gwenlais and Heathwin filled with wonder, danger, adventure, romance, love of family as well as betrayal.

The people, races, and beings, will beckon you to return and visit, over and again, sharing in their joys, sorrows, tragedies and triumphs.

Connect with M.T.:

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Book Promo Feature–In The Blood of the Greeks by Mary D. Brooks

YAPC would like to welcome Mary D. Brooks to the blog today. She is here to share an excerpt and some info about  her book In the Blood of the Greeks. If this looks like something you would enjoy, please go pick up a copy or two! This book is reduced to $2.99 for a limited time!

Book Description:

In the Blood of the GreeksIt’s 1942 in German Occupied Greece during World War II, Eva and Zoe — one a German officer’s daughter, the other a young Greek woman filled with fury — should be enemies but they come together in an unlikely union to save the lives of Jews targeted by the Nazis. They know that one wrong move will put an end to their lives.

Fourteen year old Zoe Lambros’ faith in God is shattered after her mother’s death at the hands of the German Commander. She determines to defy the enemy in every way she can–including a festering urge to kill the German Commander’s daughter, Eva Muller.

Eva Muller has a tortured past, and a secret, if revealed, will lead to certain death at the hands of her father. Despite knowing the risk, Eva is working with the village priest to help the Jews escape. With her activities closely observed, Eva needs help to continue the clandestine operation. Zoe is not who Eva has in mind but they have to find a way to work as a team to accomplish their life saving mission.


– Finalist: Fiction – Historical – Event/Era – 2015 Readers’ Favorite

– Finalist Gay/Lesbian Fiction – International Book Awards 2015

– Finalist First Novel – IAN (Independent Author Network) Book Of The Year Awards 2015

– Finalist Outstanding Historical Fiction – IAN (Independent Author Network) Book Of The Year Awards 2015

Content Warning: Mild Language and Low Level Violence

Buy In the Blook of the Greeks:



Chapter Three

Zoe sat outside the house on an upturned wooden crate and watched the soldiers coming and going from the house across the street. She had a white fabric in her hand, and as she embroidered a pattern, she would occasionally glance up at the soldiers and then back down to her handiwork. She had a great memory—she wasn’t sure how it worked, but she could recall everything she saw. She casually glanced down at the watch Stavros had given her.
Zoe’s attention was drawn to several soldiers nearly falling over themselves at the entrance to the house. Moments later a tall figure emerged dressed in a black cloak with a hood to cover their head. Zoe scowled and looked up into the heavens. It was a warm, sunny day and there were no clouds in the sky to forecast a weather change, and it wasn’t cold either.
“What an idiot,” Zoe muttered. The tall figure talked with the guards for a few moments. It was when the cane was produced that Zoe stood up straighter. She had seen that cane before. Very slowly as to not arouse suspicions, she tapped the door behind her, where her cousin was sitting.
“Stav, come out here.”
“Now. I want you to see something.”
The door to the house opened and Stavros came out feeling his way with a cane. Zoe stood up and offered him her seat while she leaned against the wall. Stavros’ “war injury” provided cover for his activities in the Resistance.
“Who is that?” Zoe asked. She decided to sit down on the wooden floor and watch the hooded person.
“Muller’s daughter.”
“Clean your ears out. I said Muller’s daughter,” Stavros replied. “Her name is Eva Muller; she’s 22 and a cripple.”
“What’s her dress size?” Zoe teased Stavros.
“I’m not partial to German whores so I don’t know,” Stavros joked under his breath, making Zoe giggle. “Kiria Despina told me.”
“Despina’s nice although she is always trying to marry me off. Too bad she is forced to work there for those pigs. Why would you bring a woman into a war zone?”
“You’re a woman,” Stavros reminded Zoe as he glanced down and smiled at her.
“I live here.”
“I don’t know why the Nazi brought her here. Maybe Despina is wrong and she’s his wife.”
“She doesn’t look like a cripple,” Zoe muttered, but moments later rethought her assessment. One of the soldiers held out a cane which Eva took. “Well, look at that, she is a cripple,” Zoe said a little louder than normal. She was more than a little surprised when her comment caused Eva to momentarily stop at the top step. The guards didn’t pay any attention to Zoe but Muller’s daughter did react. Zoe saw it and smiled.
“Zoe! Lower your voice.”
“They’re Germans, Stav, they can’t speak Greek,” she whispered.
“If they can’t speak Greek, why are you whispering?”
Zoe grinned and watched Eva laboriously coming down the four steps. “Her shadows can’t, but the cripple can speak Greek,” she said quietly.
Stavros glanced at Eva in confusion and then back at Zoe. “Zo, the sun’s getting to you.”
“No. My head is fine.” Zoe absentmindedly tapped her head with her hand. “She understood what I said.”
“Are you sure?”
“Oh, yes, I’m sure.” Zoe nodded and watched as Eva finally got down the steps. She spoke to the guards for a moment before they backed away from her and stood behind her. Zoe was intrigued by this new arrival. The new commander had only been in the village for a few days and Zoe had not seen his daughter at all in that time.
“Come inside.”
“No, I want to watch the show,” Zoe mumbled as she helped Stavros get up and go inside. She resumed her seat on the overturned crate and saw that Eva had only taken a few steps. She sat up straighter when she saw a gust of wind rip the hood off Eva’s head.
“So now you have a face,” Zoe muttered.
Eva’s long hair disappeared into her cloak. Zoe was mesmerized by the color. She was expecting Eva to be blonde, but she wasn’t. Her hair was midnight black with the barest hint of blue as the sun hit it. The artist in Zoe was amazed; the Resistance fighter was intrigued. Eva stopped as the guard put her hood back on and they resumed their slow journey.
Zoe followed Eva’s tortuous slow walk to where the house ended and the intersection began. “I wonder what color your eyes are,” Zoe mused. “Not bad for a cripple.”
Eva stopped and took a breath. She said something to her guard and for a moment Zoe thought it was about her. It wasn’t. A few minutes later they resumed their journey. Just as Zoe got up to go into Stavros’ house, Major Hans Muller appeared at the entrance. Zoe stopped and sat back down.
Muller was a tall, stocky man in his late forties. Zoe looked into his face as he stood on the landing, waiting for his daughter to come to him. She sure doesn’t look like her papa, Zoe mused. There was a coldness to him, even for a Nazi. He didn’t try to help Eva up the stairs but stood there watching her.
“What an ass,” Zoe muttered.
Eva stopped and looked up at Muller. They exchanged a few words which Zoe couldn’t quite decipher. Muller did an about face and went back inside the house leaving Eva to walk up the stairs and follow him.
Zoe sneered as Eva’s journey up the stairs was taking an extraordinary amount of time. “I’m going to turn fourteen by the time that woman reaches the top step,” she muttered and got up and went inside the house.
“So did you enjoy the show?” Stavros said from the window while he continued to watch.
“I thought you said you weren’t interested in German whores?”
“I’m not.”
“Why are you watching her? Has she reached the top step yet?”
“We should go outside and give her a gold medal. That’s an Olympic event.”
“What is?” Stavros turned away from the window.
“Slow walking.” Zoe giggled. “My god, that took forever.”
“Do you care?”
“What did Muller say to her?”
“I don’t know.” Zoe shrugged and sat down at the table. “I couldn’t hear.”
“Why don’t you go home and pretty yourself up a little bit?”
“Huh?” Zoe stared at Stavros. “What did you just say?”
“I said go and wear a nice dress and do that thing you do with your hair. Apostolos is coming tonight.”
Zoe continued to stare. “What do I do with my hair?”
“You know, that girl thing you do and it looks all nice and pretty.”
Zoe smiled. “You are such a boy. Now why do I have to pretty myself up and do that thing I do with my hair?”
Stavros sat down heavily on the chair and rested his head on the table. “Zoe, can we not play this game all the time?”
“You’re the one who wants me to pretty myself up.”
“Can you please go home and get ready?”
Zoe chuckled. “Mama’s going to find this funny.”
“Your mama has the patience of a saint.”
“I’ll let her know you said that.” Zoe came round to where Stavros was seated and ruffled his curly black hair. She smiled at her cousin, who looked up at her. “You have to stop trying to match make.”
“Apostolos is sweet on you.”
“I’m not sweet on him. He’s too old.”
Stavros let his head drop to the table. “Yes, yes, yes, I know. You don’t like how old he is, nor his height, you don’t like his dark hair, and you don’t like his blue eyes.”
“He’s not right.”
“He can’t help being eight years older than you.”
“Not that, silly.”
“If it’s not his age, nor his height, his hair color or his eyes, what is it this time?”
“He has an accent.”
“What?” Stavros asked incredulously and started to laugh. He slapped his thigh as the giggles overtook him. “He doesn’t have an accent!”
“He’s from Athens.”
“They have a different accent.”
Stavros shook his head slowly, causing his curly hair to swing. “How do you know Athenians have a different accent? You’ve only met one.”
“That’s enough.”
“Zoe, go home and wear that beautiful dress your mama made for you. We have business to discuss tonight.”
“Are we going out?”
“Not tonight, but maybe tomorrow night. There’s a new batch arriving tomorrow. That’s why Apostolos is coming over.”
“Can’t he send a messenger with the information?”
Stavros smiled. “He is the messenger. He’s making a special effort to come and see you.”
“Oh, joy,” Zoe muttered as she raised herself up and kissed Stavros on the cheek before picking up her bag and leaving the house.


About the Author: A geek with too many imaginary friends who speak different languages (knew those language Mary D. Brooksclasses would come in handy). Historical romance and urban fantasy storyteller and addicted to stories and song about strength and courage. I play well with others (for an introvert) but then retreat to talk and write about my imaginary friends. Passionate about lots of things that inspire the mind (art/design, psychology, science and tech) that sets my muse on fire (she’s a busy lady!).

Connect with Mary:

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Book Promo Feature–Girls Gone Great by J. Drew Brumbaugh

YAPC would like to welcome back J. Drew Brumbaugh to the blog today. He is here to share some info and an excerpt of his book Girls Gone Great. If this looks like something you would like to read, please go pick up a copy! It is only 99 cents for a limited time!

Book Description:

Girls Gone Great

Girls Gone Great” is a collection of magical tales written specifically for girls ages two to ten years. These fable-like stories were inspired by real girls, girls taking a magical journey of self-discovery where doing the right thing turns into something great. When you believe in yourself and have confidence to face obstacles, then any girl has the ability to “go great” and surprise herself just like the heroines in these tales.

Buy Girls Gone Great:



The Escape Artist
The tiny, peanut-sized girl headed for the back door that led outside. No one noticed and no one stopped her. Silently, secretively, she escaped into the forest. Not that she escaped on purpose. She just moved naturally with stealth and grace that somehow defied detection. She didn’t reason why she was doing it, she just did. She was curious and never thought about any danger. She was too young for that. Before she knew it, she was a long way from home in the woods with night coming.
Back home it was some time before her mother realized Escape Artist wasn’t in the house. A frantic search began but Escape Artist was nowhere to be found. Her sisters looked for her in the garage, in the basement play room, in the bedrooms. No Escape Artist. Her father was the first one to notice that the door leading outside was open.
“She’s gone to the woods,” he said, pointing out the back door.
“My baby is lost in the woods,” lamented Mother. “What will happen to her? It’s almost dark.”
“We have to find her,” said Father as he led the family search party out the back and into the growing gloom that filled the woods with shadows.
The darkness engulfed them and it wasn’t long before the entire family had wandered far from home. They quickly realized that they were hopelessly lost and the more they walked, the worse it became. Eventually, they all plopped down on a fallen log to rest and figure out what to do next. They had no idea which direction was home and the forest was now ominously dark and foreboding. Strange noises surrounded them: screeches, yips and yowls. The sisters shivered with fright.
Meanwhile, several low rolling hills away, Escape Artist wandered happily along an animal trail, content as the sun sank out of sight. She was glad that the birds were going to sleep and the night animals were coming out. She watched a family of raccoons plod down the path ahead of her. Curious, she followed along, thinking they might lead to other exciting adventures. Off to the left, an owl hooted, calling to its young. A fox scurried across the trail ahead of Escape Artist, stopped for a moment and looked at her. Then it scampered off into the underbrush.
Suddenly the forest became totally still. At that moment, Escape Artist realized that the raccoons were gone and now on the path in front of her stood a beautiful white horse with a single horn growing from the front of its head. The unicorn tossed its head, the horn glowing brightly and casting a golden light on the darkened trees and bushes. It pawed the ground, bobbing its head up and down while its silky mane, illuminated with hundreds of twinkling stars, lit up the path, the ground, the sky all around Escape Artist. In a gentle, sweet voice it asked, “Where are you going, Little One?”


About the Author: J Drew Brumbaugh lives in northeast Ohio where he spends his time writing sci-fi, fantasy J Drew Brumbaughand suspense novels, teaching and training at the karate dojo he founded and building a Japanese garden in his backyard.

He has three novels in print, a collection of short stories, and has co-authored children’s book. He continues to work on his next book and seems to always have several stories in various stages of completion.

Connect with J:

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Book Promo Feature–Every Move I Have Made by Phillippa Cameron

YAPC would like to welcome Phillippa Cameron to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt from her book Every Move I Have Made. If this looks like a book you would enjoy reading, please go get a copy!

Book Description:

Every Move I Have MadeWhen the phone rings in the middle of the night, Hayley knows it not good news, and she’s right: her boyfriend, Jesse, is missing after a night of fun at the local quarry, and she might have been the last one to see him alive… 17-year-old Hayley is counting down the days to when she can escape from her parents and the life she feels sure she will inherit from them. Her father’s simmering anger at the impotence of his world threatens daily to boil over, while her mother has retreated into herself, never leaving the house. In Hayley’s home, darkness always lurks just below the surface. Hayley has a plan, though, and is determined not to let anyone stop her, and her courage is fueled by the kindness of her two best friends, although not even they know all her secrets. But when the most popular boy in school suddenly turns his attentions to her, she finds herself questioning exactly what it is she wants, until she learns that danger can be found everywhere, not only at home, and even within the boy you love.


Content Warning: Brief, implied rape scene.

Buy Every Move I Have Made:



When the phone rings in the middle of the night, you know it’s not good news. No one’s calling to say you’ve won the lottery. Or you’ve got into that Ivy-League college. Calls in the middle of the night mean only one thing.
So when I hear a phone ring and my eyes flash open to find darkness, when I hear footsteps in the hallway and my bedroom door opening, and when I see the outline of my mother appear in my doorway, I know what it means.
“Halina, wake up.”
I push myself into a sitting position. My breathing is shallow, as if I’ve been running.
“Some woman was on the phone looking for her son,” my mother says. “She says you know him. Says it’s your boyfriend.”
“Jesse?” My voice breaks on the second syllable.
Her figure in the darkness shifts, and her voice is flat. “Woke your father up.”
I fumble in the dark for my phone, saying with a dry mouth, “I don’t know where Jesse is.”
My hand finds the phone and I switch it on. The screen lights up my room but doesn’t reach my mother who hasn’t even crossed the threshold.
I look towards her squat shape nearly filling the doorframe.
“We were at the quarry,” I say. “All of us. The boys were swimming. Jesse’s at the quarry.”
“He’s not. His mother says his clothes are still there. But he’s not. And Halina, it’s four in morning. No one’s at the quarry.”
I am wide awake now.
“What do you mean?”
“What do you mean, his clothes are still there?”
A sigh moves through the darkness. “I don’t know, Halina. That woman was pretty upset. Just call her.”
“But what does that mean?” I sort of spit this out, and I feel my mother back off.
“Call her,” she says, and her voice is swallowed up by the darkness as she fades away. My phone vibrates in my hand, then beeps. Half a dozen missed calls flash up, and a text message, and then another, and another. I wince at every flash. Abruptly, the screen darkens and all that is left is a perfectly round light at the top of the phone puncturing the night in intervals. I sit in the dark for a moment. I know I need to call Jesse’s mom but I am paralyzed.
I close my eyes, tightly, until they sting, and I scream – silently – until everything inside me is emptied out and I’m hollow once more.

On the day Jesse Randall spoke to me, he was sitting on the low wall that trails down the front steps of my school. He was wearing a chocolate brown sweater with the hood pulled up over his head, which is why I didn’t realize at first who he was or that he was watching me. When I was four steps above him, he pulled back his hoodie and stared straight at me. My heart fired balls of heat through my chest and up my neck onto my face. And then Jesse Randall said, “Hey, Hayley.”
Before I could stop myself, I turned around. Turned to see who the other Hayley was that Jesse Randall was talking to.
Because it couldn’t be me.
I had been working late in the library again because I didn’t want to go home, and I was the last one to leave but still, it couldn’t be me.
But it was only me there on the steps.
As in, Hey, Hayley.
I whipped back my head so quickly that my hair, plaited down my back, struck me painfully across the face, and I only managed to get out, “Hey,” in return but I hadn’t stopped walking so in a second I was beyond him and then the steps were gone and I was on the sidewalk that led away from the school and away from him, and right before the path turned a sharp left to follow the road, I looked back.
He was still there.
And he was still looking at me.


About the Author: By night, I’m a ferocious reader and writer, knocking out words at every available moment and Phillipa Camerondevouring every book in sight. Luckily for me, by day, I’m a meek and mild librarian with shelves and shelves of gorgeous novels to choose from, and when I’m not selecting the next fantastic book to buy, I’m dispensing books and advice to a giggle of high-school girls.

I love Young Adult novels. And books from other genres too. Any of them. All of them.

The Day We Are Born is the first novel in my Elements series. Every Move I Have Made is the second book, and was published this year. Each novel is a stand-alone book, linked by its connection to one or more of the elements – earth, wind, fire and water. My third book in the Elements series will be out in 2017, entitled One Great Fear In My Heart.

Connect with Phillippa:

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