I have some major news! Awaken's book cover is below, and let me tell you, when I saw it, my jaw dropped. It's stunning and captures the tone of the story perfectly. My publisher is absolutely amazing. I swear, there's pretty much nothing she can't do. (Find out more about her at http://www.reneeromance.com/). My boyfriend has it as his phone's background because it looks so AWESOME.
The free ARC giveaway is officially closed. If you didn't get a copy, it's okay because it's currently on sale for $2.99 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Yes, you read that right: Awaken has officially been released. Those of you who promised a review in exchange for a free ARC can go to either website to leave one.
That's not all. Below is the first chapter of Awaken just to tease your appetites if you're still on the fence about buying it. I had such a blast writing it and I really hope you'll enjoy reading it. I've gotten positive feedback so far! (If you have a problem viewing the PDF, let me know and I'll send you a Word Document.)
Finally, I have a Goodreads page here, and Four Sides and Awaken have their own sites as well here and here, so if you have an account, please add me! I'd love to get to know you better and find out what you guys recommend reading!
Keep in touch! I'd love to get your opinion on the book cover, the chapter, the book itself, or anything really.
Check back next Monday for more Aspiring Writers interviews!
To put it mildly, Andie was pissed.
Her strawberry blonde hair decided to go frizzy the one day she needed to look professional for an interview, and it was especially noticeable since she decided to cut it to her chin over the summer. As she was getting her usual hot chocolate with extra whipped cream from Starbucks, some jerk completely spilled his hot black coffee all over her only white collared blouse. By the time she reached Phillip Enterprises for her interview, she already knew she wasn’t going to get the internship due to her frazzled appearance, but she had to suffer through it thanks to her high school business class requirements. She needed some sort of internship by the end of the week or else she’d fail the class. She was already stressed out, thanks to her mother’s reminder of how important it was that she got this internship, how the money from Andie’s job at the Spirit Museum and Keirah’s job at the bank just wasn’t cutting it anymore, that taking care of family was more important than getting a good education. Well, her mother would certainly be disappointed and no doubt remind her how desperately they were struggling ever since their father left and how she was depending on Andie to help out and couldn’t she just do a little more? It would go such a long way.
The interviewer – who, by the way, was not Jack Phillip like she was told it would be, but some old guy, because apparently Phillip couldn’t be bothered to interview a high school junior clamoring for the lone internship his company offered even though he was only a few years older than she was – began the question with the dumbest question she had ever heard: “Did you know you have a stain on your shirt?”
The pressure she felt pooled over. “Yes, I did. I wanted to stand out from my peers by arriving to a very important interview with a big-ass stain on my very nice, very expensive shirt.”
Because of that particular retort, security had to be called because what’s a party without rent-a-cops? In a commendable fifteen seconds, Andie found herself walking the streets of Onyx, running her shaky fingers through her brow-length bangs. This was a new feeling for her, being absolutely furious. She wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself. Her fingers itched to call Carey, but she was heading over to Carey’s house now, and anyways, it wasn’t likely she could even formulate words at the moment. Her head was starting to pound so she wasn’t up to par with her well-honed pedestrian dodging skills. She ran into someone, someone built, because instead of knocking him over, she fell down rather ungracefully on her backside.
“This is just typical,” she hissed through gritted teeth. Before she knew it, someone grabbed her hand and pulled her to her feet.
She cast her eyes up, ready to tell the person to watch where he was going, when she came in contact with a pair of jade-green eyes. He was tall, probably six feet, and dressed casually – something uncharacteristic for him since he was rarely seen in anything but one of those designer suits he owned. His thick, chestnut brown hair was not slicked back from his face the way he normally wore it, but fell loosely, framing his long face. His thin lips, notorious for frowning and making out with his flavor of the week, were pursed, and he looked at her with a quizzical brow, probably due to the furious look she was giving him.
“Of course,” she muttered. “Who do I happen to run into on this already horrible day? You.”
They were standing on the bustling sidewalk, the passersby none the wiser that there was a celebrity in their mist. Andie could tell he was getting uncomfortable, but she didn’t care.
“I’ve had the worst day because of you,” she snapped, poking him in the chest. He was wearing a royal blue V-neck sweater with the sleeves pushed up to his elbows. The material was soft under her fingertip. “I went to your building to be interviewed for your internship and obviously didn’t get the job because the interviewer – who wasn’t you, by the way, like I was led to believe – asked the stupidest question and ugh!” She threw her arms up in frustration.
Phillip blinked once, twice, and then said in his usual low, soft spoken voice, “Do you think it might have to do with your attitude? Because, certainly, my staff – who I do train personally, though it isn’t any of your business – would never hire someone as rude, brash, and obnoxious as you. And they certainly don’t need me to tell them otherwise. You, on the other hand, would need more supervision than I could afford to hire. Want some advice? Watch your mouth.”
Her mouth dropped open as fast as if he had reached over and slapped her across the face. Maybe he was right. Maybe she was PMSing. Maybe she was having some sort of breakdown because of all the pressure and expectations she just failed to meet. She was being completely unprofessional, but in the heat of the moment, it didn’t matter. His words had no time to sink in. Before she realized what she was doing, she grabbed her water bottle from her oversized bag, unscrewed the cap off, and dumped it on him. Being only five foot six, Andie couldn’t pour it over him like she wanted to, but at least she got him wet. His demeanor darkened and his jade green eyes took on an edge.
Phillip’s sudden demeanor change didn’t intimidate the seventeen-year-old. “Don’t act like you know me,” she said. “Do you think I’m naturally a bitch?”
Before she could follow up, he answered with one firm nod. “Yes.”
Once again, her mouth dropped open, and before she could finish, he began to walk away. She would be damned if she let him get away with the last word, so she quickly positioned herself directly in front of him, preventing him from walking any further. “Maybe you’re right and my attitude could use some fine-tuning,” she admitted. “It’s no excuse for my behavior, but I’ve had the worst day, and look at you, walking the streets without a care in the world. Well, I’m sorry Mr. Phillip, but we weren’t all born into wealth and privilege; we all can’t walk the streets when we want to get away from our problems. We have to work for money and good grades, but you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you? Your life was pretty much made for you before you were born.” Her pale eyes hardened into emeralds. “Instead of doing any good, you walk around like you’re better than us. Let me tell you something: Just because you have more money than everyone doesn’t make you a better person, it just makes you an asshole.” With that, she ran her fingers through her frizzy tresses once more before sidestepping him and disappearing in the crowd.
It was a blur to Carey’s home – a townhouse tucked in Onyx Garden, a gated community – and she had to press in the key code three times before her fingers got the keys correct. From there, it was a two minute walk to the blue and white classic American style home. Andie walked up to the door and all but pounded on it.
“Jeesh, Andie,” Carey said as she opened the door. “What’s your” - she stopped midsentence, her quick brown eyes taking in her friend’s appearance. “You look like shit.”
“Wanna talk about it over chocolate chip cookies?” Carey led Andie through the foyer to the marble-topped kitchen. “My mom made a fresh batch before she had to scurry off to confirm a really important job tomorrow. You know, the one we’re waitressing for?” She winked as she took a seat on the barstool.
Andie headed for the cabinet, preparing for a glass of milk. She took a seat across from Carey and remained silent while she took a bite of the still-warm cookie. It melted on her tongue. She had no idea how, but homemade chocolate chip cookies always made her problems disappear. Now she could talk.
“Oh my God,” Carey said, reaching up to touch the back of her neck. Her pixie-cut dark blonde hair and soft facial features made her look like a fairy and her dimples just added to the allure, giving mischievousness to her adorable façade. “You did what?”
“I know, I know,” Andie said, wincing like a puppy being scolded. “I shouldn’t have gone off on him. It just happened. Look, in all likelihood, I’ll never see the guy again. I’m planning to chalk the whole incident up to PMS, learn to not take my problems out on rich douchebags, and forget about the whole thing, okay? I just hope the guy hasn’t blacklisted me. Oh my gosh, do you think he can fire me from the Spirit Museum? I mean, he technically doesn’t own it, but he donates so much that I bet if he called them” –
“Dude, Andie, calm down,” Carey said, grabbing Andie’s wrist to emphasize her point. “You’ll be fine. It’ll all work out.”
Andie’s eyes narrowed on Carey’s sucked-in cheeks. Carey only sucked in her cheeks when she wasn’t telling Andie something, something important. “What, Carey?” she asked. “What did you do?”
“Okay, the thing is, when you hear what happens next, you’ll be slapping your knees due to how funny life is,” she explained, her voice getting breathier the faster she spoke. “You know the waitressing job tomorrow night? The catering job my mom is confirming right now that you already agreed to waitress with me? Well, that job is at Phillip’s party tomorrow night.”
Andie’s mouth dropped open. “That’s just great,” she muttered. “Not that I don’t appreciate the job, Care, because I do. I definitely need the money, but I’m pretty sure once he sees my face, he’ll kick me out of his house for sure.” She paused, sighing, and then, in a nicer tone, asked, “There’s no way I can get out of this?”
Carey pressed her lips together and looked at the smooth surface of the marble countertop. That was a no.
“Fine.” Andie felt her stomach sink into a pool on the black and white tile floor. “What time tomorrow night?”