Best Friends…Forever? Reading Guide: Session One
This week we’re starting book two in the Landry's True Colors Series: Best Friends…Forever? If you missed the first book in the series, you can find all the info on the books and the reading guide here:
(https://www.krystenlindsay.com/teacherparentbook-club-guide.html ) , but you can also read this book as a standalone if you’d like. This week we’re going to read chapters 1-3. Below are questions and activities you can do by yourself by writing and journaling, or talk about it online with a friend, or discuss with a parent or guardian at home. Maybe you'll find out your friends and family have had similar experiences!
In chapter one, Landry and her mom are back with her dad at their old apartment in Chicago for winter break. Landry’s enjoying seeing the city decorated and going shopping for Christmas gifts, but when she goes online and sees her friends having fun together without her. She does from having fun to she feeling left out. Have you ever felt that way? Write or share a time when you felt left out.
In chapter two, Landry gets an email from Vladi—the boy she has a crush on and she has no idea what to write back to him. She gets her friend Ashanti to help her compose an email. She’s excited with the email, but again, she sees her friends back home posting pics together online and she feels lonely. Read this section again and write about (or discuss) how it makes you feel.
I got ready for bed and then stopped to check my social media page one more time and that’s when I saw it — another picture of Peyton, India, and Devon hanging out. They were sitting on the couch with their heads scrunched close together and laughing. It was a cute picture, but then I saw the caption: So glad we could all be together for the holidays. Love these guys soooo much! Best friends forever. #Alltogether #Threemusketeers #BestFriendsForever #ThreeBestFriends #ThreesCompany.
My heart sank. It was India’s caption and anyone who read it would think what a close‑knit group of friends and not realize anyone was missing from that photo. Sure, I was in another state, so naturally I couldn’t be there for it, but the way India wrote that made me feel so left out. I mean, what did she mean by the ʺThree’s Companyʺ hashtag? And sometimes people tagged friends who weren’t there in pictures and added, ʺWish you were here,” but there was no mention of a fourth member of the group.
“Ready for bed, hon?” Mom asked coming into my room.
“Yeah, just signing off.”
“Okay, sleep well.”
I got into bed and hoped I was reading into things, but the knot in my stomach wouldn’t go away.
In chapter 3, Landry goes to her grandmother’s and you see she deals with being compared to her super smart amazing cousin, Lucy. Landry should be feeling confident because she placed in a writing contest, did well in a modeling competition and has begun doing some small jobs, and school is going well for her, but she let’s herself feel small compared to Lucy’s accomplishments. Have you ever been in that situation where what you’ve done feels less important than someone else’s accomplishments? Has it ever been in your own family? How does that make you feel?
Share some experiences or write about times you’ve gotten conflicting messages about the way you’re supposed to act.
Behind the scenes: Comparison. It’s never fun and it can hurt your feelings when you’re made to feel less than someone else. One of the things I try to do with the Landry’s True Colors Series is focus on the things that make someone unique that they don’t always realize are special. We spend so much time looking at what other people have going for them that sometimes it can feel like what we do well doesn’t measure up. It’s also very easy for people to label you.
I remember my mom was talking to someone about the high school I’d be going to the following year. I overheard the other moms tell her, “Freshman get labeled on their first day and it’s impossible to get out from under that.” I remember being terrified of that and wondering, what would my label be? It never occurred to me that I had any control over that whatsoever.
When Landry sees Lucy being considered the smart, pretty one in the family who has it all together, she puts herself in the category of, “not good enough.” She immediately starts to focus on how her math grade isn’t good enough and even though she does think about how she likes to write and is good in English and history, she slides back into thinking about what other people have going for them.
Is that something you do? Make a list of all the things you’re good at as well as the things you like. Take a look at the things you’re interested in and good at and see if there are talents that go along with those. Maybe you like art and don’t consider the fact drawing comes easily to you or that you always know how to decorate your room in an amazing way. Creativity isn’t always counted as being important when you’re growing up.
I remember I went to the art museum to take a class with a friend. I was around Landry’s age and we were making kites and my friend was one of those people who was instantly good at whatever she did whether it was academic, artistic, athletic or whatever—she excelled in everything. Then there was me who would avoid running unless something was chasing me. We always wore school uniforms, but that day we could wear our regular clothes and I put on a fun sweater and a stack of my favorite colorful bracelets.
When it came time to paint our kites, the art instructor went over to me and took my paints away. She said, “you’re obviously a very creative type and your project should match that, so I’m going to get you some special paints for your project.” I had never been singled out like that before—especially not in an art class. I was usually told I wasn’t staying in the lines, was getting too messy, and the number one thing I heard was that mine didn’t look like the other students. ALWAYS. But this time I was being told that was a good thing.
However, being as this was my first time being singled out like this, I was uncomfortable with this kind of attention. She brought me some bright colored paints and at first, I cringed slightly because I often got teased for wearing bright colored accessories at school and this was just making a bigger deal of it. (Not so fun fact: once a nun stopped me in the hall at school and told me my socks were too colorful! A classmate overheard and made fun of me until another boy shut him up by saying he thought my colorful socks were, “cool.” Thank you, Matt! And yes, I DO remember who defended my socks in the 7th grade.)
Anyway, I went to work on painting my project. When we were finished, she made a big deal out of mine and for the first time I wasn’t hearing, “Look at (insert other person’s name here)—it should look like their project does—try again.” Or the very common experience I had of looking up from my art project only to see I went a different way…from my entire class. Because I was always the only one doing things slightly different, I took that to mean I was doing it wrong. It never once occurred to me that I was just seeing the world (or art) in a slightly different way. But now, looking back all these years later, I realize that I did have a different way of seeing things and that’s probably why I’m a writer today. What I thought was a negative thing back then actually turned out to be the path I was supposed to be on. That art teacher gave me a spot of confidence that day that I’ve held with me all these years. Now I look back and see how I used to line myself up to other people and compare myself like Landry does. However, that day I was encouraged to show my creativity and it brought out the real me.
Take some time to write about the things that make you different that maybe make you a little uncomfortable. Then take some time to express yourself today whether it’s drawing a picture, making a meme, creating something else, or wearing some fun socks! Feel free to share it online and hashtag it: #LandrysTrueColorsProject
Read chapters 4-6 for next time where I’ll have a new session up on Wednesday. The previous sessions can be found here:
I am so excited to bring you this blog post today. You know how much I love sharing things that uplift people with their self-esteem and self-image and get them to embrace what's unique about them--it's what the whole Landry's True Colors Series is based on. So recently I saw this blog post on my friend, Khristee Rich's social media page and I thought it was amazing and asked her if I could share it with my readers. When I first met Khristee four years ago, we were in New York City for a conference and we sat next to each other and I remember thinking oh she must be an actress/model. Turns out she was that and so much more. So please take a moment to read this blog post and share your reflections on it below.
“Definitely Not A Model” by Khristee Rich
After college where I earned a B.F.A Theatre Performance degree from the University of Michigan, I went to The School for Film and Television in New York City. My scene study teacher helped us to see how casting directors saw us, what types we should play and submit to. We all wanted to know this because we weren’t getting cast in the roles we wanted or weren’t getting cast enough period.
He went around the room telling everyone their types simply from their looks. For me he said the role I would play would be a cop, an NYPD cop, definitely not a model. He actually said, “Definitely not a model.”!! I was so hurt and confused. I never thought of myself as tough or that people viewed me as an NYPD cop and not beautiful. I was 22/23 and I thought I had potential to be pretty. I looked to my teacher for advice and guidance and he told me that I was not pretty enough for TV or to be seen as a pretty role on TV. True, I was not especially curvy, I didn’t know how to do fancy makeup and wasn’t that stylish, but I was slim, and not short. Everyone else in the class was given more flattering stereotypes to play and I wondered why I wasn’t. I concluded that I didn’t like the teacher; he was prejudiced against me and I needed to do something different with my hair.
Growing up I wore my hair in braids every day from age 4 to 13 because 1) I had really thick hair and 2) I wanted to look neat in school and fit in like the other kids. Being a light-skinned African American girl the only way others could tell that I was black was my hair.
They would say that I had kinky hair and if I ever wore my hair down my classmates (the boys) would make fun of me.
My hair was my struggle for most of my childhood. On the weekends other kids played in sports and participated in extracurriculars, but for me I had to pick one day, Saturday or Sunday to wash my hair. Normally, I picked Saturday so that I could have a full day to relax before school the next day. I was allowed to watch one cartoon and then for the next 6 hours I washed my hair and my mother dried and braided my hair. Yes, that’s right, every weekend it took 5 1/2 to 6 hours to dry and de-tangle my hair and put it back into neat braids. During that time, I always wished that I could be playing with friends, playing in sports, relaxing watching TV, or outside playing in nature. After hours of having my hair yanked and pulled tightly with a brissle brush, doused with water, and my skin burned from the hair dryer, my head and neck were sore and I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep.
One day on the school bus, a girl told me that I could actually be pretty if I cut my hair (no longer wore braids) and didn’t wear glasses (got contacts).
Shortly after my fashion advice from the school bus, I cut my hair and got contacts. My hairdressers said that I would look pretty if I straightened my hair so I straightened my hair from age 13 to my late 20’s. Then, finally I got tired of straightening my hair so I wore it natural. And then got my hair cut into an afro and finally went blonde a few years ago.
Being a light skinned African American woman, I did not experience prejudice based on the color of my skin, but the thickness and curl of my hair.
In my whole history as an actress, I was never once cast in the role of a cop, but I was represented by a modeling agency in NYC; I did modeling when I lived in Hollywood and I was represented by several commercial agencies who liked my look.
Today I love my hair and feel pretty, but it is interesting reflecting back on my journey and how many people inferred that I wasn’t pretty because of my hair. It is important not to let other people dictate our journey (tell us what we can or cannot do or tell us who we are). We must trust our journey and believe in our passions and dreams.
If you would like to hear more of my stories about confidence, authenticity, and self-love, subscribe to my list and get notified when a new post is live. www.thedancingcurtain.com/freegift
Can you identify with this story? Did you experience prejudice growing up? Did you struggle with your identity? Do you love and accept yourself today?
Bio: Khristee Rich is a Holistic Healer, Medium, and Writer who helps empathic women who have tried everything to no avail to finally conquer chronic illness, chronic conditions, and debilitating emotions. She helps them to see their lives from a higher perspective, so that they can thrive in the life that they desire. By getting to the root cause and treating it first, then offering potent actions, and natural remedies, she is able to produce quick, lasting results and help her clients to heal naturally, easily, and joyfully. Through female empowerment, authenticity, emotional support, and natural remedies her clients step into their joy and shine. Step out from behind the curtain, connect with your spirit, and shine!
Keep in touch with Khristee:
The Dancing Curtain: www.thedancingcurtain.com
Free Gift: a PDF for Empaths to Protect Their Energy So That They Shine Bright: www.thedancingcurtain.com/freegift
My instagram is www.instagram.com/khristeerich
The Dancing Curtain on FB:
Pinterest where I include information about health and wellness, spirituality, inspiration, and some of my creativity (stories and poems and insights): www.pinterest.com/khristeerich
My Holistic Health Blog, The Dancing Hummingbird (same info as Pinterest): https://www.thedancingcurtain.com/blog-2
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Can Dreams Come True
1. The Andrew character took on a life of his own as I was writing the series. I never intended for him to have anxiety, but as I was writing the books I realized he was getting overwhelmed by his image and fame. It ended up creating a big part of the plot for the follow up book, In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety.
2. People ask me all the time how I picture Cecily and I've always pictured her looking like Selena Gomez, which is what I told the cover artist (Cora Graphics). Cecily also has that same sweet vulnerability as well.
3. I watched (and read) a ton of music bios and documentaries while working on this story. Everyone from Ed Sheeran to Elvis, Marvin Gaye, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, George Michael, Amy Winehouse, and many more. It helped me see what that celebrity lifestyle was like with all the pressures.
4. I was very close to my aunt and her friends when I was a teen, so I wrote an aunt character for Cecily to confide in. I think teens need an adult outside of their parents to talk to when they are dealing with something that their friends don't have experience in handling. I still talk to my aunt's best friend every week! We text all the time.
5. Blue Arbor is a lake town that I made up. Since I have a series set in Grand Haven, Michigan where they also visit Saugatuck, I wanted to create a separate town from that. I imagine Blue Arbor as a mix of several Lake Michigan beach towns: Spring Lake, Grand Haven, South Haven, Holland, Spring Lake, and Saugatuck.
6. I visited two piers while working on this story for the music video shoot scene. One was in Holland, Michigan, and the other was in Grand Haven. Going to places in person and walking the path my characters take helps me set my scenes better. I walked the paths that Cecily and Andrew walk in the music video scenes on the pier and the beach path several times to get a feel for it.
7. Cecily feels uncomfortable after her guidance counselor doesn’t seem to put much value in her extracurricular activities which include reading. I wrote in an assistant principal character who gets Cecily’s love of reading to show that everyone has their unique strengths. I think adults can be dismissive of things sometimes because they mean well and don't want us to have our heads in the clouds. Still, our passions are what keep us going and they are valid.
8. Mr. Warwick is loosely based on my father. He loved reading and took an interest in helping his students. I remember him telling me he knew a little girl who loved reading, but she didn’t have books to read at home, so he brought some of his old Hardy Boy books to her classroom so she'd have new books to read.
9. Music is a huge part of my writing process. I do a playlist for every book I write and listen to it before my brainstorming process. You can find a few of my playlists online, but here's one to check out: https://www.krystenlindsay.com/blog/new-playlist-for-the-cecily-taylor-series
10. The documentary Andrew and Cecily both like is called, "Great Gatsby: Midnight in Manhattan." I found it at the library and really got into it. I'm such a nerd when it comes to documentaries! I checked this one out so many times that I finally just tracked down a copy of my own and ordered it.
A GRIPPING YOUNG ADULT ADVENTURE!
About the Story:
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?
What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?
The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences. One is that slavery is legal there. Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).
Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil. It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with "have a rack"), an unsharpened weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge. Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades. You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.
More About the Story
Set in a world alarmingly like our own, The Collar and the Cavvarach is the story of fourteen-year-old Bensin, a slave, whose status is made obvious to everyone by the steel collar locked around his neck. A martial artist who competes to win money for his owner, Bensin fights in tournaments with a cavvarach. But his greatest battle is the struggle to protect his little sister from the horrors of legalized slavery in a world where slaves have few rights. Desperate to keep her safe, Bensin struggles to find a means - legal or otherwise - to arrange for her freedom.
(For a fun introduction to the story's setting and its culture, including an explanation of how cavvara shil works, click here.)
Sound Like a Book you Might Enjoy?
Click the play button below to listen to the first 15 minutes of the story as narrated by Joseph Baltz.
Click here to go to the audiobook on Audible.
Click here to go to the audiobook on Amazon.
(Either way, try listening to the free sample to see what you think!)
Like to Read Along While You Listen?
The Collar and the Cavvarach ebook is available for FREE from July 14-18. Grab your copy now!
Enter the Giveaway to Win a Bundle of Action and Adventure eBooks!
About the Author
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/anniedouglasslima
Sign up for author updates and receive a free ebook: http://bit.ly/LimaUpdates
Book Reviews by Lexi is celebrating her 7th blogiversary with a big giveaway! You can enter to win a variety of books! The giveaway will run until 12 am on 8/1.
Enter here: www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ddb6fe4f1/
Love this new review for Landry in Like! "The characters were realistic and definitely reminded me of teen angst, and high school (a long time ago). Landry is dealing with her life, and her friendships, with teen drama added to her journey. A very well-written story, and I enjoyed it. It is always a joy to read this author's stories."
You can find the entire review over on her website at:
Get the book here:
Or in paperback:
Book Depository: www.bookdepository.com/author/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager
Barnes & Noble
Books a Million: bit.ly/2xay0Eo
Excited to share the paranormal romance covers of book 1 VAMPIRES OF MOSCOW and the prequel novella, SIRENS OF LOS ANGELES. Out 15 Oct 2020.
Read more & pre-order the books today at:
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaedisKnight
Like reading funny pop star romances? Want to read and review the Cecily Taylor Series? The Cecily Taylor Series is now listed on NetGalley for reviews for a limited time. You can go here to request one or both of the books for review:
Can Dreams Come True:
In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety:
Meet author Shannon Davis! I'm excited to share her debut novel with you.
Tell us about your new book.
Worth the Risk ~ A Southern Fairy Tale is a friends-to-lovers, second chance romance. It takes the reader on an emotional journey through the lives of two best friends, Rebecca and Jackson, who met at the tender age of eight. As their friendship grows stronger, childhood infatuation culminates into a mutual desire for romance. But a horrific accident shatters their dreams and leaves both heartbroken and alone. Desperate to put the hurt behind them, they close the door to their past and move forward with their lives. Then a ten-year class reunion brings the two back together and they learn that falling in love is beyond their control. But secrets threaten to destroy their dreams again. In order to give their love another chance, they must risk another heartbreak—and ultimately, their own lives. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book… “When you’re talking about love, there’s always a risk. But that’s part of what makes it so amazing.”
What inspired you to write it?
Worth the Risk was a story on my heart for many years. But life has a way of keeping us busy, doesn’t it? With my husband no longer deploying and our three children no longer little babies (although they’ll always be my babies), I found I had more time to expand on the story in my head. It’s funny how different stages in your life, exposure to certain events, spark inspiration. Quirky as it may sound, I was reading a book—two books, actually—and felt as though it was a sign for me to start writing my story…because in both books, the heroine decided to put it all on the line and chase her dreams of becoming an author. So, that’s what I decided to do too. I started putting down words in my spare time, and before I knew it, I had a few chapters written. And that inspired me to keep writing. The story itself drove me to finish. My characters became real to me, and they needed me to finish the story so they could have their happily ever after.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
So, so many… I’ll name a few.
The Queen Bee, Dorothea Benton Frank, is at the top of my list. I have every book she ever wrote, and they are all personally signed. Yes, I’m a fangirl. I had the great opportunity to meet her last April at her 2019 Fan Fest at her home in South Carolina. She was every bit of the sweet, sassy, southern soul that comes out in her books. Her tart humor and amazing talent of story-telling was what drew me to her as a reader, so when I heard about her Fan Fest, I simply had to attend. Unfortunately, she passed away less than five months later. My heart will forever be broken, but I am eternally grateful I had the opportunity to meet one of the authors who inspired me and gave me the nudge I needed to write.
Richard Paul Evans, Nora Roberts, Susan Mallery, Nicholas Sparks, and Sandra Brown are also a few of my favorites. I have so many!
What are some of your favorite books?
Some? Oh boy… This is a tough one too. I’ll give you a short list…
Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms (Dorothea Benton Frank)
The Witness and Whiskey Beach (Nora Roberts)
The Choice, The Wedding, The Notebook, See Me (Nicholas Sparks)
The Mistletoe Inn, The Noel Stranger (Richard Paul Evans)
Here’s a question I love to ask writers: what book (that’s already published) do wish you could have written?
Oh my goodness, these questions! How in the world can I come up with only one answer! I suppose it would be The Choice by Nicholas Sparks.
Share with us a little about yourself!
I grew up in Northwest Florida and attended a small rural K-12 school. After college, I followed my love of mathematics and became a high school math teacher. Nearly three decades later, I finally decided to step away from the classroom for a season and pursue my lifelong dream of writing.
When I’m not reading and writing, I enjoy baking and making crafts. I’m a huge Hallmark fan, so every holiday I’m eager to watch all the new romance movies. I’m a sucker for love stories with happy endings.
My family is my greatest gift. I am a military wife and mother of three college-aged children. With everyone going in different directions these days, our family time is even more precious. We enjoy the outdoors and love going on vacations together.
I write about fame, celebrities, singers, and models as well as writing about values. Who are some of the celebrities who you admire? Any celebrity crushes from your childhood/teen years?
I admire the celebrities who remain grounded, who truly love people, and who step up and give back when they can. To me, it’s simple acts of kindness, compassion, and selflessness that make celebrities super stars.
As for my childhood crushes, who didn’t have eyes for Rob Lowe? I had posters taped all over my bedroom wall of him and Bruce Springsteen.
I write a lot about funny (and cringe worthy) middle school and high school moments. What’s a moment from either middle school or high school that you wish you could go back in time and do over?
I think I’d like to go back to my senior year and relive some of those moments. That year seemed to pass so quickly for me. I’d love to go on my senior trip again and take more pictures!
What are you working on next?
I am working on another novel, the second in the Southern Fairy Tale series. The name of it is Worth the Wait, and I can’t “wait” to get it finished!
Worth The Risk by Shannon Davis
Not all fairy tales are as simple as meeting your handsome prince and living happily ever after. Nobody knows this better than Rebecca Sharp. She thought she met her prince at the tender age of eight. As their friendship grew stronger, childhood infatuation culminated into a desire for romance. But untimely circumstances shattered Rebecca’s dreams of true love and left her broken and alone. A fresh start was the only way she could close the door to her painful past. Now, harboring a dark secret, Rebecca has returned home to attend her ten-year class reunion, mostly to prove she isn’t afraid to see Jackson again. Jackson Strickland had his own secrets, but his love for Rebecca wasn’t one of them. Tormented by the memories of the only girl he ever loved, his life spiraled out of control. When Rebecca unexpectedly returns, his life is shaken even more. No longer the young girl he remembered, she was a strong and beautiful woman. Despite his bitterness, he can’t resist her or the fire in his heart that’s been smoldering for the past ten years. But secrets from his past still haunt him and danger looms as a killer lurks.
Will they be able to overcome their past and risk everything for love?
Author Bio: Shannon Davis grew up in Northwest Florida where she developed a love of writing as a young girl, keeping countless diaries and notebooks filled with short stories. After college, she followed her love of mathematics and became a high school math teacher. She retired from the classroom after nearly three decades to pursue her lifelong dream of writing. A military wife and mother of three college-aged children, she and her husband reside in Georgia with their three dogs and four cats. When she is not writing, Shannon enjoys traveling, baking, and outdoor activities. An avid reader of women’s fiction and love stories, she is a sucker for happy endings. Her love of the south coupled with romance is evident in her debut novel, Worth the Risk.
Purchase on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MvjTO7
Author website: http://www.shannondavisauthor.com/
I always love having author A.K. Morgen on the blog and today she's back with her new Upper YA/New Adult paranormal romance as well as giving us the playlist for Songs of Destruction: FALL's Playlist!
FALL - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two
Genre: Upper YA/New Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
How do you save someone who doesn't want to be saved?
Those called to stand guard against the end are broken, and Sköll and Hati run free. Now Arionna Jacobs and Dace Matthews face a threat unlike any before. Ragnarök is coming and they aren't strong enough to stop it.
Arionna thought she understood sacrifice, but she never counted on her destiny tearing Dace apart. Ever since she nearly died, he has been consumed with guilt. Now it threatens to turn him into the monster he always feared.
It's up to Arionna to stop him before it's too late, but the path to hell is paved with good intentions, and Dace is hurtling toward self-destruction. This time, Arionna isn't sure she can save him from himself.
Can she convince him to let the past go, or is her true destiny to sacrifice her heart in exchange for the lives of the people she loves?
Amazon Worldwide | Smashwords | Apple | Kobo |BN | Universal Book Link
Dace nuzzled his cold face into my neck, planting little kisses everywhere he could reach.
I love seeing you like this, I said.
Happy. I tilted my head to the side to allow him better access to my neck. I loved when he kissed me like this. Like he couldn't be this close to me without having his hands and lips on me.
I am happy. You make me happy.
Gage leaned down to whisper something to Chelle. She looked out over the field, frowned, and then whispered something back to him, too low for me to hear. Gage responded, causing her to shake her head. Her frown deepened.
I followed her gaze with mine and had to bite back the urge to groan.
Ronan stood across the quad, his long hair blowing in the brisk wind.
Why is he here?
I asked him to come, Dace said.
"Why?" I demanded aloud.
Some of the girls around us turned in my direction.
"Shit," I cursed under my breath. I would remind everyone I was within gawking distance. I arched a brow in a pointed, unspoken request.
They hurriedly averted their gazes, opting instead to cast furtive glances over their shoulders at us.
Behave, please. Dace continued nuzzling my neck, trying to distract me.
I closed my eyes and leaned back into him again, doing my best to ignore the renewed interest of my former classmates. They weren't only curious about me. They were just as curious about Dace, the gorgeous TA who had never dated a student before me. Didn't help, though. I didn't like the attention.
Why's Ronan here? I asked.
To help keep an eye on things.
Dace sucked at lying. Or maybe I'd gotten better at picking up on the things he didn't say. Whatever the case, he wasn't being honest with me. I heard it in the half-second pause before he answered. Felt it in the way his body tensed for a moment before he relaxed again.
I'm not lying.
You're not telling the whole truth, either.
Geri? I pushed my thoughts out toward the wolf. If he knew what Dace was plotting, he'd fill me in. Wolves didn't keep secrets.
Dammit, Arionna. Dace nipped gently at my skin with his teeth, a little punishment for defying him, and a little reward for defying him. The boy was nothing if not complicated.
"Tell me," I said, turning my face into his.
He's here to see if he can root out Sköll or Hati.
I froze, my heart jumping.
We don't know if they're here, Dace said, trying to ease my mind.
It didn't work.
He didn't know for sure, but he suspected the demon wolves were here. And why wouldn't he? Whoever they were, they knew where he worked, where I went to school. They knew exactly where to find us the day they attacked, right down to our schedules. Of course, they were here somewhere. What I didn't understand was why Dace was here.
If he expected Sköll and Hati to show up, why did he willingly let me, Chelle, and Beth come here?
Because you're safe here.
So he hoped.
I won't let anything happen to you again.
I sighed, things beginning to fall into place in my mind.
Dace wouldn't let any of us leave the house without a guard, but he had no such qualms about putting Ronan in danger. Sköll and Hati had to know Dace would be too busy keeping an eye on me, Chelle, and Beth to spare any attention for anyone else today. No one would be watching Ronan's back, making him an easy target. All the twin wolves had to do was separate him from the crowd, and no one would ever know.
That's why we were really here today. Not because we needed a break or because Dace was actually trying, but for this. So Ronan could do what Dace wouldn't let me do and act as bait.
We couldn't even get away from the apocalypse for a single afternoon.
The damn thing followed us everywhere went.
About the Author:
A.K. Morgen is the Amazon Bestselling author of the Ragnarök Prophesies series. She lives in the heart of Arkansas with her childhood sweetheart/husband of sixteen years and their furry minions. When not writing, she spends her time hiking, reading, volunteering, causing mischief, and building a Spork army.
She graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology in 2009 before going on to complete her graduate degree in CJ and Law.
She puts her education to use as a 911 Dispatch Supervisor, where she's responsible for leading a team of dispatchers as they watch over police, EMS, and firefighters for her county.
Ayden also writes steamy romantic suspense under the penname Ayden K. Morgen. You can visit her online at http://akmorgen.com or at the links below.
Tirgearr Publishing: http://www.tirpub.com/akmorgen
Songs of Destruction: FALL's Playlist by A.K. Morgen
Music is such a big source of inspiration for me. I wrote FALL (The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two) over the course of a year way back in 2012-2013. When prepping it to republish this year, I considered coming up with a whole new playlist as I worked my way through edits. But I quickly found that the original playlist I created way back then was already exactly what I needed for this story.
In FALL, we see this struggle unfolding between Arionna Jacobs and Dace Matthews (our apocalypse stopping heroine and hero) where they both have their own ideas on what's best for everyone. They end up clashing over those differences of opinion and reacting to this added element of angst in their relationship in some pretty intense ways at times. As a result, this created a sort of dark, melancholy tone for FALL in places.
I'm not exactly a dark and melancholy kind of person, so it was critical that I found music that captured that feeling while writing or it simply wouldn't have worked. Luckily, there was an endless supply of music out there that really captures the more angsty parts of FALL, so I had a lot of good choices.
Revisiting them again while editing was, surprisingly, a lot of fun. I hadn't heard some of these in a few years, so it was really nice to queue them up and remember why it fit so well.
Here are some of my favorite angst-ridden songs from FALL's playlists.
• Letters From The Sky - The Civil Wars - This song so perfectly captures Ari and Dace's relationship, and the whole hopeful yet melancholy apocalypse theme of the series, I added it to the list the first time I heard it.
• Closer - Burn Season - This song reminds me so much of Dace at times. He's so screwed up, and yet so amazingly good at the same time, I always feel a little sad for him.
• Maybe Tomorrow – Stereophonics – I can't think of any other song that says so much with so little. It's sad, it's hopeful, and just all around powerful.
• All Falls Down – Adelita's Way - This song was an early favorite. I love it for Ronan, who we see a lot more of in FALL, and really start getting to know. It also perfectly captures some of the darkest points of the entire Ragnarök series.
• Radioactive - Imagination Dragons – This song has such a great feel to it. There's that apocalyptic vibe, and then that self-loathing vibe, and then underneath all of that is the story of an awakening or desire to change. We see a little of each in FALL.
• Always – Saliva – This is one of my all-time favorite pissed off songs. It's so spot on when it comes to that "breaking point" of relationship angst. I rocked it a time or five.
• One More Night - Maroon 5 – This is another great dysfunctional relationship song. Plus, I don't know anyone who can make dysfunction sound as hot as Adam Levine does.
• Hold it Against Me – Sam Tsui – Speaking of hot, I love, love, love Sam Tsui's cover of this song. It's so raw and lovely at the same time. There's a specific scene in FALL where this song fit perfectly.
• Tears of an Angel – Ryandan – If I had to pick a single song to listen to while writing the entire Ragnarök Prophesies series, this song would be it. It's haunting, beautiful, sad, hopeful, and just all around amazing.
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