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EXCERPT: (Avery's point-of-view):
My mind retraces the past few months, all the conversations Tyler and I have had, the words we’ve said and haven’t said, all stemming from one incident, one day. And then I’m thrown back to that afternoon, back into the ocean and the cold, roiling waves. I feel them around me, tossing me this way and that, pounding over my head like a stampede of wild horses. I feel the salt stinging my eyes and see the abyss below me in the moment I dove under to find the boy. I saw him there, motionless and suspended in the deep, just out of reach.
Just out of reach.
My face feels hot, and I can’t breathe. But I keep my panic cloaked beneath my skin. A violent earthquake rattles my insides, but I tense my muscles, holding it in, restraining it, refusing to let it show. I dig my nails into my arm, anchoring them there, anchoring me into stillness, and I focus all my attention on the present physical pain in my arm.
Kai’s hand reaches for mine. His touch stills my insides, draws out the tremors as though they’re water and he’s a sponge.
Praise for the Book:
“Vividly imagined, this novel is the perfect mix of modern love story and literary fiction. One brimming with genuine emotion that had me re-reading passages simply because they were too beautifully written to experience just once.” --Julie N. Ford, author of With No Regrets
“This book is not only an engaging and satisfying supernatural romance, but also a beautiful story about life, death, and the gray places in between.” --E.B. Wheeler, author of The Haunting of Springett Hall
"This is one of those stories that stays with you long after the closing scene. It was beautifully imagined and vividly written and I absolutely loved it!” --Teresa Richards, author of Emerald Bound
Guest Post: Facing my Fears in the Name of Book Research
I’m going to tell you something about myself: I love the ocean. And I’m terrified of it. I love strolling along the beach, watching and listening to the waves roll in. I love the feel of the water as it washes over my feet and then drags me, inch by inch, out to sea. I love stepping into the waves and then moving deeper, feeling the tug and pull of that majestic and powerful thing that is the sea. But as soon as I can’t feel the sand beneath my feet, I panic. My imagination offers up all kinds of terrifying suggestions of what creatures are lurking beneath me, or how far the sea floor is from my feet.
Despite this fear, I knew that if I was going to write a book about a surfer, I needed to try surfing. So one December afternoon when I was on vacation near Avila beach, I squeezed into a wetsuit (the Pacific is COLD in December), and carried my borrowed surfboard into the waves. I’d watched a bunch of YouTube surfing lessons beforehand and practiced “popping up” on the sand, so in theory, I knew the basics.
As I paddled out past the breakers though, I wasn’t thinking about how to choose the right wave or where to put my feet or how fun this would be. All I could think about was where the shark might be. Every time I dipped my arm in the water, I practically expected it to get chomped off by a three-foot-wide mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. Sure, there was only a 1 in 3.7 million chance that I’d be attacked, but the sharks would smell my fear and single me out, right?
Well, I finally made it past the breakers, and that’s when I paused for a minute and told myself to chill out. I’d made it this far, and I was going to surf, and I was going to have fun. And if I got eaten by a shark, at least I would die knowing that I was brave enough to face my fears. I looked out to sea at the set of waves that was moving toward me. I studied their shape and paddled over to where the swell would be the fullest. Then I turned my board shoreward while recalling all those surfing tips. When I felt the wave begin to swell beneath me, I paddled as hard as I could, then popped up to my feet.
I was standing! I was SURFING!
And then a few seconds later I biffed it and learned what it was like to have my sinuses cleaned out with saltwater. But I didn’t care, because I had surfed. I knew what it felt like now, and it was AMAZING. But even more amazing was knowing that I’d overcome a fear so that I could experience something new.
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