“When he finally stopped laughing, there was a pause, and then a groan. I hadn’t known that a boy could make a noise like that—soft, wordless, but rolling inside me like thunder. My thoughts were ricocheting wildly inside my skull, but the first one I could make sense of was, Oh, shit. There was no way that any of this could end well for me.”
It’s been such a great week! The release of Eden went perfectly, without a hitch. I can’t even begin to describe how much I enjoyed the Facebook party and the chance to hang out with some of you! We had such a great time talking about E and random stuff. There were so many laughs, and I really got to know some of you who have been quietly supporting my writing journey. It’s so incredibly encouraging to hear your thoughts on my books and see how involved you are in the story! E has grown to be so much more than just *my book*. It’s become something that you are all a part of, and that is an amazing thing!
Now I suppose it’s time to move the focus from Eden to Jason and Lily. As much as I love all my books, I have to say that this prequel holds a special place in my heart. Out of all the books I’ve written, this is the one I’m the most excited about. I cannot wait for you all to read it!
Jason and Lily tells the story you’ve all been dying to know. And at the end of Eden, I think you’ll want to know it more than ever. It’s only just over one month until the release, so we don’t have long to wait (though it seems like forever). Mark your calendars for July 23rd.
In the meantime, the giveaway for Eden is still running (until June 20th), and you can still enter for a chance to win having a character in Book 4 named after you, and more!
Speaking of giveaways, I have something very, very special planned for the release of Jason and Lily. It will be fans-only, so you’ll have to prove you’re a fan. Don’t worry—it will be easy. I just want to make sure that this prize is going to go to someone who will *love* it. Because I love it. So it must go to someone who *gets* it. 🙂 Anyway, more on that coming soon!
For now, here’s the first teaser for Jason and Lily:
“I stood staring at it—the thing in my hand. An orange, as round and fresh and vibrant as the sun.”
Pounding, slamming, punching, fingers crunching. Tangled arms and lungs and nothing working can’t move can’t breathe—
“Eden! Eden!” Jonas’ voice explodes in my ear. “Goddammit stop this thing right now!” Panting—mine, his. A soft breath of voice. “It’s OK. It’s OK.”
“We are stopping. It takes a minute!”
“You’re OK,” Jonas says as the world slides sideways, our shoulders ramming into a wall.
A huge rectangle of daylight appears in the hull. All I can see is white—bright, bright white that makes me squeeze my eyes closed—but I’m scrambling for it, falling out the door and onto the road. I scrape myself off the pavement and stumble away, making Jonas’ hand miss my back. He reaches for me again as I stand to the side, hands on knees, head down, gulping air. I swallow down the bile. I am OK. It’s just a stupid armored truck. Nothing more.
I take long, deep breaths through my nose, sucking in clean, fresh air. I straighten and look at the wide stretch of blue sky beyond the road, remembering how open and endless the world is beyond the barriers.
I nod, turning toward Jonas. I am OK. I’m not even embarrassed. Not terribly. Not until I see Spec standing there, his pale eyes wide as he watches me.
Something in me snaps. “I have some issues. OK?”
Spec’s eyes flick from me to Jonas. He licks his lips, shrugs his shoulders like he’s taking off a pack, and tosses me a smile. “Don’t we all.” He looks to the front of our convoy, and to the back. “Is this going to keep happening?”
My jaw tightens, but I lift my chin. “I’ll get used to it.” My eyes scan past him to the long stripe of road that lies ahead of us. “How much longer?”
He laughs as he turns back to the truck. “You better get used to it,” he says. “There’ll be lots of places where you can’t get out. Places where stopping equals dying.”
As he disappears back into the truck, Jonas and I lock gazes. His green eyes are wary, but his mouth is a line of determination.
“What’s your trick?” I ask, half pissed-off that he’s dealing just fine with being packed in a metal box again.
He shakes his head, looking away. Disconnected. We’re so, so disconnected.
Giving up on an answer, I start to move past him, but his gaze flicks back to me.
He doesn’t smile, not the way I’d like. But there’s something real in his eyes. “I’m mostly just focusing on how badly I have to pee.”
I laugh unexpectedly, running my fingers through my hair. A glance at him reveals his gorgeous face stretched into a wide smile. As I step toward the truck, I keep my voice level, covering up the flutter of emotion inside me. “Does that mean I shouldn’t take a pee break now?”
“God, no,” he says. “Take a pee break. There are places where peeing equals dying.”
Wearing a smirk of amusement, I move between the trucks to take his advice. I gesture to the driver to turn around, tossing him a glare that ensures his quick compliance. It’s the most privacy I’ll get out here, so I try not to think about it. Instead, my mind wanders back to Jonas. He doesn’t realize it, but he really has helped. That smile. That moment of connection. A guilty little indulgence to hang onto when I close my eyes in the dark pit. Healthy? Probably not. Good idea? Unlikely. I thought I was past that. But sometimes you’ve got to make concessions. Choose your poison. Especially in our messed-up world, where stopping equals dying. …Where peeing equals dying….
I snicker as I squat.
“Coder flushes red and turns back to his brain machine. I’m pretty sure he’s just wobbling the knobs out of nervousness, not for any purpose.”
Only eight days to go until the release of Eden! Woohoo!!!
He laughs as he approaches—the kind of half-bent-over laugh your whole body does when you’re piss drunk. “Captain Blood,” he says, making a little salute, “at your service.”
“Fate cuts through the water, massive, and razor-sharp.”
“We spend the rest of the time bombing each other, and now we’re going to an inter-tribe death picnic, or what?”
Apollon hollers after them, “Coconuts! Bring some of those!”
I look at him.
He grins. “Jack will lose his mind over coconuts.”
“The alligator is personal.”
There’s a quiet, staggered flash in the sky, and a gust of wind. I breathe deeply of the air, trying to feel, to touch, to name that thing that haunts me.