THE TRUTH ABOUT BOYS available now!

Hi, guys! I’m SO excited to announce that my 10th book THE TRUTH ABOUT BOYS is available today! Check out the details about it and where to buy it below. Plus, check out details on how to get a FREE ebook copy of THE BOYFRIEND THIEF!

14477713917096 guitar strings. 2 boys. 1 summer to let it all go.

The summer before college, Kate Watts wants to do three things: make music, hang out with her best friend Ashton, and scoop ice cream. With an ailing grandfather, a flaky mom who shows up once every who-knows-when, and a looming tuition bill to pay, Kate doesn’t need any more complications

But “complications” have a way of finding her.

Like when an infuriating new boy named Rory humiliates her at a party.

Or when her wild cousin Paisley shows up unexpectedly at her doorstep to stay.

And then when she’s offered the chance of a lifetime–if she throws away the dream she’s been working for.

Soon, straight-shooting Kate gets swept up in a whirlwind of parties with Paisley, all while falling for hot-and-cold Rory…until she begins to suspect that Rory and Paisley might be keeping a huge secret together. Will Kate have to leave everything behind to untangle the truth—including herself?

The Truth About Boys is a companion novel to The Boyfriend Thief and The Secrets Between You and Me, and the third book in Shana Norris’s Stolen Kiss collection.

Buy the ebook from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or iTunes!

Check out the first two books in the Stolen Kiss series below and the companion short story. And for a limited time, you can get The Boyfriend Thief for FREE!

THE-BOYFRIEND-THIEF.pre-final-200x300  FINAL_9.22 oneweek


This entry was posted in Books.

Building My Winter Capsule Wardrobe

Happy 2016, y’all! I didn’t stay up to ring in the new year, I was at home in bed asleep. It was nice! ;)

I’ve been working on this post for a few days and this seems like a great time to post it, with people looking for new starts for the new year. Why not have a new start at your wardrobe?

I like to think I’m a pretty simple girl–I enjoy knitting, sewing, cross stitch, growing my own food, raising chickens for eggs and meat, canning and preserving food. But one thing I have always loved beyond that is fashion. I grew up reading the teen fashion magazines and then moved on to InStyle and fashion blogs as they popped up all over the internet. (Never got into Vogue though. I tried, but it was just not my taste at all.) I get compliments a lot from friends about the clothes I wear. Just the other night a friend told me that I always look so fashionable whenever she sees me, which I love to hear. :) This isn’t a fashion blog, but I do love to talk about fashion and so I wanted to talk a bit about how I handle my clothes and fashion.

Being a simple kind of person, I think I’m pretty simple about my fashion. I define my style and colors, and use a capsule wardrobe to keep it simple and easy. It wasn’t always this way. Like most people, I used to have tons of clothes and still looked at my closet complaining that I had nothing to wear. But a few years ago I ran across the concept of a capsule wardrobe and it changed my fashion life.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe a collection of clothing that all work together and that you love to wear. It’s not just random clothes you buy because you feel like going shopping, it’s a defined wardrobe that is interchangeable. It can be a set number of pieces, as in Courtney Carver’s Project 333. I don’t use a defined number of pieces, but I do still try to keep my collection as low as I possibly can.

How do you set up a capsule wardrobe?

My first suggestion is to use a site like Pinterest to collect looks that you love. This is my Winter inspiration board and as I look at it I see things that define the style I like: lace, layers, scarves, cardigans, skirts with tights and boots, stripes. I also see colors I’m drawn to, and so I used this to decide on a color palette for my winter wardrobe:

Colors: Plum, berry, mustard, mint, with a little soft pink thrown in.

Neutrals: Gray, brown, navy, white. Just a couple of black pieces, but I don’t wear a lot of black anyway.

When you have your style and colors settled, it’s time to start building your wardrobe. I used Polyvore to put together my wardrobe from pieces I already had and to help me see how many of each item I was using. These aren’t exactly the pieces I have, but they’re similar.


Winter 15/16 Sweaters

From left to right, starting at the top: Brown sweater, berry sweater (thrifted), white cowl neck sweater (thrifted), gray sweater (thrifted), mustard sweater (thrifted), navy floral print cardigan, pink cardigan with black lace (thrifted), mustard cardigan, white lace cardigan (thrifted), mint cardigan (thrifted), camel argyle cardigan, camel argyle sweater (thrifted), plum sweater (hand knitted by me).


Tops Winter 15/16

From left to right, starting at top row: mint blouse (thrifted), black and white polka dot blouse (thrifted), off white tee, gray graphic print shirt (thrifted), pink tee, pink lace blouse (thrifted), berry blouse with bird print (thrifted), navy and white striped tee (thrifted), black and white striped tee, white lace blouse (thrifted).

Skirts and dresses:

Skirts Dresses Winter 15/16

From left to right, starting at top row: Dark gray wool skirt (thrifted), pink skirt (thrifted), navy and white striped skirt (thrifted), gray skirt, pink plaid skirt (thrifted), brown and white floral skirt (thrifted), purple dress, navy and mint dress, black and white polka dot dress, gray sweater dress (thrifted), brown cat print dress, navy and white striped dress (thrifted), gray dress.

Pants and shoes:

Pants/Shoes Winter 15/16

From left to right, starting at top row: Brown knee boots, skinny jeans, brown pants (thrifted), gray pants (thrifted), black booties, brown loafers, plum flats (thrifted), gray sneakers, gray slouch boots.


Accessories Winter 15/16

From left to right, starting at top row: printed gray tights, dark gray leggings, gray cable knit tights, brown tights, plum tights, white cowl (hand knitted by me), white scarf, plum scarf, mint scarf.

Currently, my wardrobe is composed of:

  • 23 tops
  • 6 skirts
  • 7 dresses
  • 3 pants
  • 6 pairs of shoes
  • 5 tights/leggings
  • 4 scarves

My capsule is currently made up of 54 pieces. A higher number than most other blogs tell you to do, but this was as much as I could cut it down. Maybe after this winter I can determine what pieces I didn’t wear to cut it down some more. I didn’t include jewelry, socks, tank tops, or outerwear in this. I also don’t include sleep/lounge clothes or workout clothes. Also you can see, a lot of my pieces are thrifted. I love shopping Goodwill, but I don’t do it randomly. I go with an idea in mind of pieces that I’m looking for. This is my current wish list:

Wishlist Winter 15/16

From left to right, starting at top row: white shirt with polka dots, mint green printed skirt, plum pants, brown printed skirt, gingham shirt, and mustard skirt.

Having a capsule wardrobe makes getting dressed so much easier. I know that I have clothes that actually work together rather than a bunch of stuff I bought randomly just because I felt like shopping. I’m also spending a lot less on clothes. I buy things because I really love them and know they’ll work in my wardrobe.

You may be wondering if these are all the clothes that I own. No, definitely not! I have my warmer weather clothes too, but they’re in storage at the moment. In the spring, I’ll transition some pieces out and move to lighter clothes in my spring colors. I didn’t go out and buy new (to me) pieces just to create my winter wardrobe. Most of the items I already had and so I only purchased a few new things this year. As far as brands go, I can tell you that a lot of my clothes are from LOFT, Banana Republic, and JCrew, but most of them are also thrifted so I paid about $3-$4 per piece. The most expensive item on here would be my black booties, which I just bought in October for $65 from the shoe sale at the hospital where I work. They’re Clarks brand. I’ve found that I can no longer wear heels because they hurt my left foot and ankle too much, so I’ve gone all flats now. I’m using Clarks brand for the black booties and also the brown loafers and they feel SO good on my feet.

Having a capsule wardrobe has changed the way I shop.

Now when I’m considering buying pieces I ask myself two questions:

  1. Do I LOVE it?
  2. Does it work with my wardrobe?

If  the answer to either one of those is no or a hesitation, I don’t buy it. Simple as that. When building your capsule wardrobe, determine what styles you’re drawn to either through Pinterest, magazines, or fashion blogs. Then determine what colors you like best and create your color palette for the season. You don’t have to be stuck with the same colors all year. In the warmer months, I change from mustard to a light yellow and from plum to a light purple. I also change from pink to coral during the summer. You can use different color palettes for different seasons, so don’t feel that you’re stuck with one look all the time. Once you have your style and colors, create a list of the pieces you’d like to have in your capsule wardrobe and then go through the clothes you already own to find pieces that match your list. From there, you can fill in the holes by creating your wish list that you’ll take with you when shopping. Don’t rush and don’t buy something just because it kind of fits what you’re looking for. Take the time to really consider whether it works and whether you love it.

For a long time, people had small wardrobes with few pieces of clothing. Their clothes actually worked together and were interchangeable. They had defined pieces that suited their lives and their needs. They spent time making pieces they loved or else invested the money in pieces they loved. Our society now buys randomly and shops without thinking about what role the clothes we buy are filling in our wardrobe. Most people don’t have an actual wardrobe, they just have piles of clothes. Big piles–and yet still complain that they have nothing to wear. Creating a capsule wardrobe will save you time, money, and space, and it makes getting dressed each morning so much easier!

If you’re looking for a new start this new year, here are some other blog posts where you can read more about capsule wardrobes:

What year is it again?

Hey, guys! It’s been a long time since I posted here. I’m not great at keeping up a blog, but I’d like to try again.

I do have some things to update you about. For the last two and a half years, I’ve been dealing with panic attacks and anxiety. It started suddenly, with no warning and no explanation as to what was causing it. So I had to work through living with that while also keeping up my freelance work, then my part time job as secretary at my church, and writing my books.

I learned to live with it. I was taking medicine when I needed to and I had seen a therapist to talk through some things that might have been causing my anxiety. It had gotten a lot better. I was rarely having anxiety or the panic attacks. I had even gotten a new full-time job working as a graphic designer for my local hospital, a job that I really enjoy. Things looked great.

And then on November 10, I woke up at 2:30am to find my husband and two EMTs standing over me as I lay in bed. B, my husband, said, “You’ve been having seizures for the last 15 minutes. We’re going to the hospital.”

Um, what? I couldn’t talk yet and I was confused about what he was saying, but my first thought was, “No, I haven’t. I’ve been sleeping!”

But we went to the hospital–the same hospital that I now work at and had just spent eight hours working in the day before–and they put me in the emergency room. I realized my tongue really hurt and a doctor determined I had bitten it hard, a sign of a seizure. I was already coming out of the seizures by the time the EMTs got to my house, so they couldn’t verify that I was having them. The hospital put me in observation and kept me overnight. Sometime that next night, I woke up to go to the bathroom and thought, “Why do I have this oxygen tube in my nose?” The bed started squealing, waking my husband up from his bed in the uncomfortable chair in the corner. I asked, “Why is the bed making all that noise?”

“You had another seizure,” B told me. As far as I knew, I had been sleeping all night without any issues. I don’t remember anything at all about the seizures and never had any warning that they were coming on.

I also don’t have any explanations as to why I’m having seizures. I am now on anti-seizure medication and I’m seeing a neurologist. My MRI and CT scans were both clear, so there are no tumors, thank God! My EEG did show seizure activity, so we just need to figure out why. I’ve been diagnosed with epilepsy, which is basically seizures with no known cause. I haven’t had a seizure since that night at the hospital, not that I know of anyway. I slept through the other seizures, so I probably wouldn’t know if I was having more in my sleep. B hasn’t woken up to find me in one since then though. On December 10, I wrote this on my personal Facebook page:

One month ago today, B woke up to find me in a grand mal seizure. I haven’t had one since that night when I had another grand mal seizure while in the hospital, but it’s still been a frustrating month! I can’t drive for another 5 months–as long as I don’t have anymore seizures. We still have no idea why this happened. I find myself forgetting things a lot–forgetting to do things or forgetting simple words or forgetting what I was saying while speaking. I don’t know if it’s the epilepsy, the medication, or just the fact that I’m in my mid-30s now, ha. I’ve had several episodes of my brain just not processing words I’m hearing. Someone will be speaking to me and suddenly I can hear the words, but I don’t understand them. It only lasts a few seconds and then my brain is working like it should again. I go back to the neurologist in a month and hopefully he’s gotten the EEG results from the hospital so he can see what is going on. In the meantime, I am reading about epilepsy and memory problems:…/thinking-an…/types-memory-problems

There are good things, though. My sweet babies, Cheddar and Taffy, two of the kittens we found in our backyard this summer and have nursed and raised:



And I have a new book coming out in February! The Truth About Boys, the third book in the Stolen Kiss series.




The Secrets Between You And Me — Out Now!!

I’m so excited to announce that my next book is now available to buy in ebook format!


4 wheels on a rusty truck. 2 gray eyes. 1 secret that could ruin everything.

All Hannah wanted was a summer break from being “perfect Hannah Cohen” and a chance to forget about the devastating family secret that could ruin her seemingly perfect life. So when she takes off for her eccentric aunt’s house in the mountains of North Carolina and everyone makes one big (wrong) assumption about her past, Hannah figures that it’s easier to live a lie than have to face the truth.

She never expected to make any real friends, like the hilarious and spontaneous Kate and Ashton, who drag her to late night bonfires and ice cream marathons. And she especially never counted on meeting Jude Westmore, the brooding bad boy next door with gray eyes and permanent oil smudges on his fingers, or that he would ever take an interest in her.

Between moonlit movie nights in the bed of Jude’s truck and nearly romantic Ferris Wheel rides, Hannah’s old life seems further away then ever, but can she keep her secret, or is the truth worth the risk of losing everything, including Jude?

THE SECRETS BETWEEN YOU AND ME is the second book in the Stolen Kiss Series by Shana Norris.

If you liked THE BOYFRIEND THIEF, definitely check out Hannah’s story in this book to find out what happens to her the summer after THE BOYFRIEND THIEF ends. And if you haven’t read THE BOYFRIEND THIEF yet, you can read THE SECRETS BETWEEN YOU AND ME without reading the other book first.

I loved writing this book because it takes place in Asheville, North Carolina, one of my favorite cities, and the location of views such as this:



Taken at Biltmore Estate during my visit a few years ago

Experience all of the amazing sights Hannah finds in the North Carolina mountains in THE SECRETS BETWEEN YOU AND ME. Buy it now: iBooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Check out a review of it at A Dream Within a Dream!

This entry was posted in Books.

Coming up next…

I’m SO excited to finally get to share this news…

The Rules of You and Me is being re-released this year with a new title, new cover, AND new scenes!!

Paper Lantern Lit’s publishing line The Studio, which re-released The Boyfriend Thief, will be releasing it on February 10, 2015, as The Secrets Between You and Me.

Check out the cover reveal on YA Highway!

Ahhh! I love it! <3

And if you follow that link, you’ll also find a link to read the first two chapters over on Wattpad!

This entry was posted in Books.

The Boyfriend Thief + The Studio

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, then you’ve probably seen the news already. But if not, here it is:

The Boyfriend Thief is being re-published by The Studio, a brand new digital publishing imprint created by Paper Lantern Lit!

If you’re not mixed up in the YA publishing world, you may not know what Paper Lantern Lit is. It was created by editor Lexa Hillyer and bestselling author Lauren Oliver. It’s what’s known as a “book packager.” They create ideas for books, hire writers to write them, and then sell the books to publishers. With The Studio though, Paper Lantern Lit is becoming a publisher for the ebooks. The Studio is debuting this year with four books, and The Boyfriend Thief is the first of those titles. I’ve been working with my editor over the last few months to revamp TBT. It has gotten a new cover and has some new scenes added in! I’ve been really excited about this re-release and it’s been so hard to keep quiet about it. But we wanted it to be a surprise and to have the new version of TBT debut along with the launch of The Studio. You can read more about The Studio here at Publishers Weekly and check out their website here!

So, I’m excited to present the new cover and blurb for The Boyfriend Thief!

The Boyfriend Thief


1 ill-fated hot dog costume • 2 former BFFs • 11 days to seduce a boy.

Avery James doesn’t believe in romance—she’s studied enough biology to know that love is nothing more than hormones and chemicals. Besides, she has more practical goals in mind, namely saving up for a summer humanitarian program in Costa Rica. But when her Diggity Dog House supervisor denies her a raise and Avery finds herself $500 dollars short for the trip of a lifetime, Avery has no choice but to accept an unexpected offer. The deal? She must steal her arch nemesis Hannah’s boyfriend before prom, giving Avery eleven days to seduce Zac Greeley.

Avery is sure the job will be easy. But a few midnight comedy shows and spontaneous dance parties (not to mention one particularly intimate carwash) later, Avery finds herself questioning everything she’s ever thought about love. Could Zac’s signature cherry-lime Slurpees be causing brain freeze, or is Avery actually starting to fall for him?

Will Avery be able to steal Zac away from Hannah before he steals Avery’s heart?

Download The Boyfriend Thief at iBooks.

Or purchase it at Amazon.

You can also add it to your Goodreads list here.

And I’m excited to give you a peek at the other three books coming from The Studio this year!

DOLLHOUSE-682x1024Dollhouse by Anya Allyn

Dress Up Turns Deadly…

When Cassie’s best friend, Aisha, disappears during a school hike, Cassie sets off with Aisha’s boyfriend Ethan and their best friend Lacey, determined to find her. But the mist-enshrouded mountains hold many secrets, and what the three teens discover is far more disturbing than any of them imagined: beneath a rundown mansion in the woods lies an underground cavern full of life-size toys and kidnapped girls forced to dress as dolls.

Even as Cassie desperately tries to escape the Dollhouse, she finds herself torn between her forbidden feelings for Ethan, and her intense, instinctive attraction to The Provider, a man Cassie swears she has known before…

Because Cassie’s capture wasn’t accidental, and the Dollhouse is more than just a prison where her deepest fears come true—it’s a portal for the powers of darkness. And Cassie may be the only one who can stop it.

Available May 20, 2014


Eternal Night by Carina Adly Mackenzie

There are gods among us

Six young gods are hiding in plain sight among mortals, living secretly in cities across the world. From lavish penthouse soirees to pulsing underground clubs, for them, the party literally never ends. Until now.

On a hot June morning, the body of a beautiful girl is found floating in the rooftop pool of the Jefferson Hotel, her white-ink tattoos revealing the story of a life much longer than seems possible. Only the immortals know the truth: Nadia was the goddess of hope. Now she’s gone, and the world as they know it is ending. The Hudson River has turned blood red. Storms rage overhead. Mania is rapidly spreading across the globe.

It is up to the remaining gods—Lola, Dean, Weston, Mark, Nike and Peitha—to put aside centuries of betrayal and heartbreak, and stop the mysterious source of darkness that is taking over… before the sun sets forever.

Carina Adly MacKenzie, blogger and television critic, has penned a steamy, romantic, and ultimately redemptive story of forgotten gods, the persistence of hope, and the power of love to save us.

Available August 26, 2014

BEAUTIFUL-GIRL.pre-final-200x300Beautiful Girl by Lida James

Darkness has a way of catching up

Sophomore year at Dutchess College has just begun, and Nicole is still haunted by memories of her first love, Zach. As the changing leaves fall on the stately Hudson Valley campus, she takes solace in running—pushing herself to go harder, faster, to be the best. With the wind blowing through her hair, she can almost convince herself that she is beautiful, that she will find love again.

So when Nico runs, quite literally, into the maddeningly elusive Justin, she’s convinced she’s found the guy to make her forget her ex—despite the warnings of her friends and her straight-edged running partner, Luke.

But when Nico is attacked in the woods after a wild night of partying, everything changes. Suddenly, Nico begins receiving anonymous threats, and she no longer knows where to turn for help—or whether even her close friends can be trusted.

All she wants is to be one of the beautiful girls—the ones who never have to chase perfection. But in order to uncover the truth, she’ll have to face a past she had hoped to leave behind forever. She thought she could outrun the darkness, but darkness has a way of catching up…and only one boy can save her.

Available October 28, 2014

This entry was posted in Books.

Win a gift card up to $500!

Have Spring Break on the brain? Need a new bikini or some dough for sunscreen? How about a $500 gift card from the retailer of your choice? You’re just in luck. The authors of Text Me are offering a deal you don’t want to miss. Help Text Me hit the bestsellers lists and earn a chance to win BIG! As of now, we will give away a $50 gift card aftermidnight on March 25th.

If Text Me hits the top 1000 on Amazon the prize jumps to $100!

If Text Me hits the top 500 on Amazon the prize jumps to $250!

If Text Me hits the top 100 of Amazon the prize jumps to $500!

What do you have to do to get in on the money? Blog, tweet, post… Get the word out, and keep track on the rafflecopter entry below! One lucky winner will have a wonderful Spring!


From Curses to Crushes, Angels to Witches, Mysteries to Puberty ; Traveling through Time to Swimming Under the Sea— Text Me: 8 Novels of First Love brings 8 teens in awkward situations who are about to find out more about themselves. These 8 authors bring novels that will make you laugh out loud.

Special sale price of only $0.99

Regular price for all these stories is $21.92 — you save $20.93!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Text Me’s new cover!

Text Me: 8 Novels of First Love just got a brand new makeover to help chase away the winter blues!

Text Me


Remember, you can get EIGHT full-length young adult books in this one package, which is still just $0.99! It would cost you over $20 to buy each one separately.

Like Mermaids? SURFACING by Shana Norris
Mara Westray has just lost her mother, and being shipped off to live with the father she doesn’t know is not how she imagined grieving. But from the moment she steps off the ferry, nothing is as ordinary as it looks. As she tries to unravel the events that led to her mom fleeing the island sixteen years ago, Mara finds that the biggest secret of all is only the beginning.

Like Mysteries? CODENAME: DANCER by Amanda Brice
Bombs, poisoning, arson… Will aspiring ballerina Dani Spevak’s 15 minutes of fame on the hit TV show Teen Celebrity Dance-Off be over before she reaches age 15? Dani and her friends are suddenly at the center of some serious sabotage. And if she doesn’t find out who is behind it, her next pirouette could be her last.

Like Angels? WINGING IT! by Shel Delisle
Angel in Training Grace Lightbourne wants to earn her wings fast, so she skips school in Heaven, heading straight to Earth on a Mission as an apprentice Guardian Angel. But, she’d better watch out — she’s flying by the seat of her pants.

Like Time Travel? LIKE CLOCKWORK by Elle Strauss
When Adeline travels back in time to 1955′s Hollywood, she meets a James Dean-esque type hottie.
But can bad boys from the past be trusted?

Like Witches? STIRRING UP TROUBLE by Juli Alexander
Zoe Miller is a 15-year-old witch with a talent for potions. Then there’s all the so-called normal stuff. Like high school, her annoyingly selfish “friend” Anya, and her crush on Anya’s ex-boyfriend Jake. Now, Zoe’s dad is dating Jake’s mom, and things are getting more and more complicated. Zoe’s tired of fate interfering so cruelly in her life. Can you really blame her for putting her potions to not-so-good use and stirring up trouble?

Like Sweet Entertainment? CONFESSIONS OF A 16-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN LIPS by Cindy M. Hogan
VL. Virgin Lips. You may not have heard of it, but where I live, it’s a thing with a card, even if it is a figurative card. Maybe that’s a bit strange. I mean, what teenage girl isn’t interested in kissing? Locking lips definitely interested me, but the drama that came with it didn’t. No kissing, no drama. Simple.

Like Fairy Tales? THE CURSE GIRL by Kate Avery Ellison
When Bee is imprisoned in a magical, cursed house because of her father’s selfish choices, she has just one plan … escape! But she must solve a riddle and help her fellow prisoners break the curse that binds them all before she can leave, and that is proving more difficult than she originally thought thanks to the bitter young master of the house, Will.
Will wants nothing to do with Bee or her help (and he certainly isn’t planning on falling in love with her), but he might have underestimated just how determined and clever – and irresistible – she can be.

Like Cute Crushes? CHASING PUBERTY by Kat Brookes
Puberty has left high school freshman Logan Stanley behind. Join her on her journey as she discovers that being a true ‘It’ girl is only a state of mind — you just have to believe!


What do you think of the new cover?

This entry was posted in Books.

Featured Book of the Day: Initiate by Tara Maya

Hey, guys! Today I’m excited to feature Initiate by Tara Maya on my blog! Read on for more information about this book and an excerpt.


The Unfinished Song (Book 1): Initiate by Tara Maya



Dindi can’t do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi’s clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan.


Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn’t commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don’t kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father’s wars and his mother’s curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her… assuming she would even accept the help of an exile.


Blue-skinned rusalki grappled Dindi under the churning surface of the river. She could feel their claws dig into her arms. Their riverweed-like hair entangled her legs when she tried to kick back to the surface. She only managed to gulp a few breaths of air before they pulled her under again.

She hadn’t appreciated how fast and deep the river was. On her second gasp for air, she saw that the current was already dragging her out of sight of the screaming girls on the bank. A whirlpool of froth and fae roiled between two large rocks in the middle of the river. The rusalka and her sisters tugged Dindi toward it. Other water fae joined the rusalki. Long snouted pookas, turtle-like kappas and hairy-armed gwyllions all swam around her, leading her to the whirlpool, where even more fae swirled in the whitewater.

“Join our circle, Dindi!” the fae voices gurgled under the water. “Dance with us forever!”

“No!” She kicked and swam and stole another gasp for air before they snagged her again. There were so many of them now, all pulling her down, all singing to the tune of the rushing river. She tried to shout, “Dispel!” but swallowed water instead. Her head hit a rock, disorienting her. She sank, this time sure she wouldn’t be coming up again.

“Dispel!” It was a man’s voice.

Strong arms encircled her and lifted her until her arms and head broke the surface. Her rescuer swam with her toward the shore. He overpowered the current, he shrugged aside the hands of the water faeries stroking his hair and arms. When he reached the shallows, he scooped Dindi into his arms and carried her the rest of the way to the grassy bank. He set her down gently.

She coughed out some water while he supported her back.

“Better?” he asked.

She nodded. He was young–only a few years older than she. The aura of confidence and competence he radiated made him seem older. Without knowing quite why, she was certain he was a Tavaedi.

“Good.” He had a gorgeous smile. A wisp of his dark bangs dangled over one eye. He brushed his dripping hair back over his head.

Dindi’s hand touched skin–he was not wearing any shirt. Both of them were sopping wet. On him, that meant trickles of water coursed over a bedrock of muscle. As for her, the thin white wrap clung transparently to her body like a wet leaf. She blushed.

“It might have been easier to swim if you had let go of that,” he teased. He touched her hand, which was closed around something. “What were you holding onto so tightly that it mattered more than drowning?”



Tara’s blog

Tara’s Twitter

The Unfinished Song on Facebook


Barnes and Noble




Initiate is free everywhere except on Barnes and Noble (where it’s $0.99). You can download a free .epub version via Smashwords.

This entry was posted in Books.