by: Chris Ledbetter
Series: Terra Sempre Saga, Book 2
Genre: YA contemporary/ fantasy romance
Evernight Teen Publishing / 65k
Release Date: July 1, 2016
You’re Not Truly Alive Until You Know What You Would Die For…
Cameron Shade and Farrah Spangled survived a near-death experience together. Now, their us-against-the-world relationship thrives despite pressure from their families, as well as cultural and social obstacles. That is, until Farrah’s father ships her off to private boarding school in Virginia.
Driven by unbearable aches of absence and longing, Cameron and Farrah are lured back inside the cursed sketchbook and the perilous Terra Sempre that siphoned their souls and almost cost them their lives.
Undeterred by a gathering storm of threats and complications, Cameron and Farrah find unlikely allies in both realms, but what Cameron discovers in Terra Sempre might make him want to stay there forever.
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“You actually running?” Farrah asks, biting into an orange. Juice runs down the side of her mouth. If there weren’t so many people out here, I’d help her out with that. She catches me looking and licks her lips.
“I have something for you later,” I whisper.
She mouths back, “I bet you do.” A wicked grin creases her cheeks.
“Back to your question … before you distracted me. No, I hadn’t planned on running. I was just helping Jamison out. You?”
“Show me what you’re made of. Let’s go.”
“Oh, you’re challenging me?”
She props her hands on her hips and arches her perfect brows. “Scared?”
“Oh, girl, you are on.” I grab her hand and drag her playfully over to where J’s classmates are handing out tags. I pick up two. She pins mine on the back of my shirt. The sensation of her fingers working against my upper back sends shivers down my spine. The good kind.
Then she strips out of her hoodie to reveal a navy blue racer-back tank top. She pats her torso to indicate where she’d rather have the tag placed. I gaze into her eyes before sinking past her chest to her taut stomach. I pull the stretchy fabric away from her skin so I don’t poke her with the pins. My fingers graze her fluttering stomach and her breath catches. She bites her lip and closes her eyes, turns her head and smiles. Like she can hide it. When I’m done, I give her a slight tickle.
She wrinkles her nose at me. “Don’t be trying to distract me, mister Cameron. I intend to beat you.”
“Everyone line up!” Jamison calls out on the megaphone.
We arrange ourselves in the middle of the pack. Farrah tips her chin up to me while smoothing her red mane back. The starting gun fires, and the cluster of runners takes off. The path winds among tall pines that stand against the sky like sentinels. Through the first quarter of a mile, Farrah and I hang on to a steady pace. My breathing is good. The second half mile, she increases her pace a bit, but I’m right on her heels. During the second mile, though, she begins to pull away. I rationalize this by convincing myself that I’m saving energy for the kick at the end, except the pace I’m running now is pretty dang fast, even for me. And she’s still five feet or so ahead. She has a mighty sweet running stride. Her hamstrings are the sexiest things known to mankind.
With a mile or so left to go, she glances over her shoulder and kicks into the next gear, crossing the bridge spanning the pond where ducks are fed by passersby. At the half mile to go mark, I launch into as much kick as I have left in the tank. But it’s not enough. My legs are heavy as logs. I simply can’t pick them up and put them down fast enough.
She got me.
I cross the finish line and catch my breath while walking over to the snack table. By the time I get there, Farrah’s waiting for me with an orange wedge in her mouth turned outward. She crooks her finger to beckon me to her. Then she points toward the orange. I can barely contain the giddy level of sensual excitement that wells up. I dart furtive glances all around.
We’re surrounded by school mates, some I recognize, some she knows. A girl catches my gaze and raises her eyebrows. Great. I fidget with the bottom of my shirt, and then clear my throat.
Farrah tips her head to the side and bats her eyelashes. I turn quick peeks over both shoulders, and then I dive in and suck on the orange that’s in her mouth. She leans into me and moans a little. When I’m done, I must have the biggest grin on my face.
“Get a room!” Jamison yells.
OMG! I can’t believe he put me on blast like that. Everyone within ten feet turns toward us. Inside, I’m still grinning like I won a million dollars. On the outside, not so much. I curl my toes up in my shoes and cover my head with a towel to dry off.
Farrah whispers, “God, I probably shouldn’t have done that.”
I turn to her. “At least everyone here is an ally. Or at the least, a marketing nerd.”
She laughs. “Or an art nerd.”
“Yeah, ‘cause there are no glasses-wearing, journalism editors here either.”
Her lips stifle a smile. “You watch your mouth, buddy.”
“You watch it for me.”
“Cheeky.” She nudges my hip and bites into another orange. “By the way, what took you so long back there?”
Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly “walked-on” to the best drum line in the CIAA. He’s worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. While teaching high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, he taught business management, business law, marketing, and sports marketing, and also coached football.
He’s a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. As a self-described, young reluctant reader, he writes young adult stories specifically to reach other reluctant readers.
He now lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.
Social Media Links:
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Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6926810.Chris_Ledbetter
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