Author: K.R. Conway
Series: Undertow #2
Publication date: August 15th 2014
Series: Undertow #2
Publication date: August 15th 2014
BLURB supplied by Xpresso Tours
Not long ago Eila Walker’s choices were limited: death by a bullet to the head, or at the hands of her beloved bodyguard, Raef. Now, five weeks after Raef triggered her power and she nearly leveled a historic mansion, Eila is dealing with the fall-out of her decisions. While she doesn’t remember dying in the arms of the soul thief who loves her, she knows that Raef remembers everything about the night he nearly killed her.
Now on the mend and attempting to keep one step ahead of the FBI, Eila and her team of misfits are desperate for a bit of normal. Eila is trying to navigate high school, while her BFF Ana is cautiously hanging with past-boyfriend and soul thief, Kian. Shape-shifter, MJ, is trying not to piss off his mother, while Raef is coping with his fears that Eila will never be safe.
But just as “normal” seems within their grasp, a powerfully built newcomer arrives. Raef knows the scarred man as a Blacklist Dealer – a soul thief, who peddles the names of humans who deserve to die. Eila, however, knows him as the protective hunter from the woods, who she nicknames Thor. Before long, Raef and Eila realize they’ve met the same killer, and he has one hell of a story to tell the five friends . . . if Raef doesn’t murder him first.
STORMFRONT is the second book in the Bestselling UNDERTOW series.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
K.R. Conway has been a professional writer for most of her adult life. She has been a journalist since 1999, an editor, graphic designer, critique partner for other writers, novelist, and book reviewer. She teaches the devious art of telling lies for money to various impressionable young people (i.e. she teaches fiction craft classes for teens and adults). She is also on the Board of Directors for the Cape Cod Writers Center, a PAL member of the SCBWI, and the driver of a 16-ton school bus. She tweets her random thoughts @sharkprose and is on Facebook, because even her BFF’s dog is.
K.R. Conway is the author of the UNDERTOW series, which includes last year’s Amazon bestseller, UNDERTOW, and this August’s release, STORMFRONT. She lives on Cape Cod with her two children and husband, two weird dogs, and a cage-defiant lovebird that sleeps in a miniature tent.
AUTHOR Q&A WITH XPRESSO TOURS
How did you come up for the idea for the series and how many books are there total?
Ah! The idea for the series . . . I get asked that a lot. UNDERTOW is a combination of the war stories of my grandfather (who was a WWII Marine and landed on Iwo Jima), my obsession with Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of Peter Benchley’s novel, JAWS, and my love affair with Cape Cod and its “everybody knows everybody” vibe. As for the number of books, there are 4 main novels, and one novella. Only the first 2 novels are out right now – UNDERTOW and STORMFRONT (as of August 13, 2014). UNDERTOW is now on summer reading lists for high schools.
The local kids from Cape Cod are saying the stuff in the books is REAL! They are messing with me, right?
The series is based on a REAL version of Cape Cod. In fact, one of the characters owns an ice cream shop named The Milk Way. While “The Milk Way” is fictitious, it is 100% based on Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville (a REAL town, were fictional Eila lives). Four Seas knows they are in the book and they host book signings. Other things in the book that are real to Cape Cod (so you can basically visit here and do all the things that Eila and her crew do) are:
Eila’s house – The home the main character inherits, and thus sets off the chain of events for UNDERTOW, does exist in the historic area of Centerville, not far from Four Seas Ice Cream. It used to be owned by a friend of mine and we hung out in it all the time when we were young. She now resides in Hong Kong as a pilot, so we catch up on Facebook and she gives me more secrets about how the house was built. FYI – don’t go knocking on the door, because someone else owns the house now.
Barnstable High School – Totally real and totally cool public high school that does some crazy thing. The students and faculty know they are in the novels (and even decided to begin building their own book trailer based on the series), so they allow me to come in and walk the halls as needed to make sure I stay true to the story. And yes – it is so huge that I need a GPS to find my way out. 2000+ students go there. Their award winning theater department became part of a major TV network series known as High Drama a few years ago. American Idol contestant Siobhan Magnus was a student there.
The Jeep Subculture – Again, totally real. On Cape Cod, Wranglers are the most beloved vehicles of all. Most families have one, and if you drive one, other Wrangler drivers will wave to you when you pass each other – like Harley riders do. And yes – you can drive them out onto some of the beaches (MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHICH ONES!)
Witch Balls, The Crimson Moon, and Eila’s Bracelet – All real. Witch Balls are made at any one of our beautiful, glass-blowing shops (and yes – you can watch them actually blow glass, which is so cool). The Crimson Moon was based on The Lavender Moon, which is no longer in business. It was owned by a real coven of witches and when you would go in there, you could buy healing stones, herbs, crystals, oils, etc. Don’t worry – Dalca didn’t work at the real version! Eila’s bracelet is a staple of Cape Cod and there are several variations, though the original is simply called a Cape Cod Bracelet. They come in various sizes, so having a two-year-old with one is not unusual. The ball screws the bangle together, which means that sucker ain’t coming off, so don’t get it caught on anything or your arm may go with it.
Town Neck, the Bonfire party, and the infamous bridge – All real, though I did take a few creative liberties. So, Town Neck beach is part of the town of Sandwich. It has the boardwalk, just as described, and the long beach at the end, AND, yes, the river. Kids can jump from the bridge (yup, I’ve done it too, and IT IS FREEZING). However, you cannot drive a car out on Town Neck and you are not supposed to bonfire there – all those things can be done on SANDY NECK or NAUSET (where Raef hunts), so I kinda sorta blended the two beaches.
Barnstable Harbor and the Ferry – Totally true and yes, you can sit and people watch. You can also catch a Cape Cod Baseball League game in the nearby field. The Cape Cod League is famous because so many players get called up to the Majors.
More of Cape Cod appears in each new novel in the series and I do blog often about the Cape, writing, and the series on my blog at http://capecodscribe.com
DUDE! I saw Raef at the mall!!! Like – REALLY HIM! I was totally fangirling!! How is that possible?
Because all the cover models are real kids from Cape Cod and none were professional models. We found them through Facebook (yes – I stalked teenagers on Facebook). They needed to match the characters that were already written and their parents needed to agree to let them become the faces of the characters. I have a fabulous, young photographer named Alex, and a full television studio that we use when we do photoshoots. Each shoot takes about seven hours. It is weird to be there during the shoots as ALL the characters are hanging out, laughing and sharing music. The kids also come to book signings and sign as their characters and pose with fans. They have been on TV, in newspapers, and on blogs. Their complete profiles and who the real kids are behind the faces can be found on my blog, CapeCodScribe.com.
How can I contact you? Enter to win Swag? Find out when the next book will launch? Meet you in person?
My blog is a great place to start (CapeCodScribe.com), but I also have a Facebook Page, Instagram (K_R_Conway), and Twitter. On Amazon, you can sign up to get an email when a new book releases. Fans who post Facebook statuses about the book, tweet, Pinterest, Instagram and what not can win swag from me.
The smell of cinnamon and coffee lured me out of my warm cocoon of sleep. I blinked into the early morning sunlight filling the parlor and listened to the echoing quiet of the house. The soft drip of Mae’s coffee maker confirmed that the power had returned and the brilliant blue outside the window revealed a crystal clear sky. I realized I must have nodded off in front of the fire last night, because I was still camped out on the floor, but somehow I had acquired what felt like a pillow. It was a bit too firm though.
I moved slightly and realized the pillow was attached to a perfectly sculpted forearm . . . and hand, which had my long hair gently woven through its fingers. Something warm and solid tightened around my waist and my eyes widened as I realized Raef was tucked against my back, one of his arms supporting my head and the other clasped around my waist.
Sweet baby dolphins everywhere, Raef was SPOONING me, pressed firmly against my back.
Now acutely aware of my surroundings, I could feel his warm breath on the back of my neck as he slept. I wanted to turn to him, but I was terrified he would wake and realize he had jumped headfirst into those revisions we had briefly mentioned last night.
Heck, he was WAY MORE than touching me. He was holding me as if I would disappear - as if I would fade into the molecules in the air. I swallowed and stayed still, taking inventory of his hard body against mine, and how we seemed to fit so perfectly together.
A metal pan scraped against something in the kitchen, breaking the silence of the house, and I felt Raef take a deep breath and stretch ever so slightly.
Then he froze.
I stayed still, hoping he would think I was asleep. Hoping he wouldn’t suddenly shoot across the room, taking with him the warmth and safety I felt in his arms.
He didn’t move for what felt like forever, keeping his arm around my waist, but then I felt him softly spread his fingers out over my stomach. It took everything I had not to spontaneously combust.
I felt his forehead touch the back of my neck and he drew a slow, deep breath against my shoulder blade. It sent electricity fanning out from my skin and down my arm. All ability to control myself fled my body and I dragged in a shaky breath.
He loosened his grip and I rolled onto my back, his arm still behind my head and his hand just below my belly button. His fingers grazed the area of my skin that was now exposed thanks to a too-short tanktop.
God bless the discount rack at Abercrombie.
“Uh . . . Good Morning,” I said, my voice a little dry.
“Good Morning,” he replied, quietly. “I didn’t mean to wrap myself around you like that. I don’t even remember doing it.”
Pfft . . . no worries!
“You just needed a snuggle-buddy,” I replied, flashing him a knowing grin, but my face started to flush. Oh my god . . . that was so lame.
Raef’s gave a soft smile and was about to reply, but a paisley pillow shot up from behind him and wacked him in the back of his head. “HEY!” he protested.
“Will you two SHUT UP!” moaned Ana who was sprawled on the floor as well. “I think I might actually throw up in my mouth. Will you be my snuggly-swuggly pooh bear? UGH! Seriously – I’m gonna barf.”
I blushed hot and sat up as Raef’s hand fell away from my tummy. He slowly got to his feet, tossing the pillow that attacked him onto the couch. He stretched, looking really well rested for the first time in weeks, and his black t-shirt rode up just enough to torment the heck out of me.
He looked down to where I sat on the floor, scrambled hair and silly PJs most likely making me quite the sight to see. “I’m going to go bring in some more wood and see if Mae needs anything,” he said, taking his fine self and walking into the kitchen. I heard him greet Mae, though Mae returned a clipped Hello, and then the side door closed.
I turned to Ana who was still sprawled on the floor with pillows and blankets. “What the hell woman?”
“SNUGGLE BUDDY? That’s all you can come up with after not having your hands on him for how long?” laughed Ana.
“Hey – at least I could speak. I was so shocked that he was with me, I thought I was hallucinating. Did you fall asleep down here too?”
“No. I went to my room, but was freezing by one in the morning. Kian and Raef were down here talking while keeping the fire going, and you were drooling on the floor, so I figured I’d camp out too, minus the unsexy drooling of course.”
“I do not drool!” I laughed, horrified.
“Well, maybe not, but you do have a line indented on the side of your face from however you were sleeping,” she said smiling.
“I do not!” I protested, but then felt my cheek. Sure enough I had a long groove running the length of my face.
Mae appeared in the parlor doorway, her arms crossed over a stained plaid apron. “I need to talk to both you girls. Now, please.”
That didn’t sound very promising. I glanced at Ana, who gave me a curious look, but we followed Mae back into the kitchen where feast preparations were in full swing.
“Sit,” Mae instructed as she poured herself a fresh cup of coffee. She added some sugar and slowly turned to face us as she stirred the caffeine. The soft clink of her spoon against the cup seemed to echo ominously in the silent room. What was she up to?
“Um – did I forget to take the trash out or something?” I asked, daring a nervous glance to Ana. Mae cleared her throat, a sure sign of whatever she was about to say was not going to be enjoyable.
“Raef and Kian are lovely young men. They’ve helped me out enormously while the two of you have been laid-up, and I am very grateful for all they have done. However, what I am about to say is non-negotiable.”
Oh please – don’t say it. Don’t go there.
“Sex should be between two people that are in love and are mature enough to understand the ramifications of such an activity.”
Yup. She went there. I bet the deed to the house it was because Raef had been curled around me, too.
The color drained entirely from Ana’s face.
“Mae – you really don’t . . .” I started, but she raised a hand to silence me. It was very possible I would never recover from this conversation. I was sure Ana’s ears were shriveling off her head as Mae spoke.
“I am not so naïve that I do not see how you four act around each other. It’s obvious that there are feelings that go far beyond friendship between you two and the boys. All I ask is that you girls are careful, use your head. Don’t do something you’re pressured into. And for heaven’s sake, if you are determined to do it, DON’T do it under this roof and always, always be protected.”
Silence descended on the room, as if a black hole had opened up on the table, sucking all gravity and sound from the kitchen. Mae stood there, glancing at the two of us. I was so mortified. I slid my eyes to the kitchen door that Raef had passed through minutes ago. If he was still anywhere near the side of the house, his supernatural hearing would have just offered him an earful. Kill. Me. Now.
Ana, no doubt ready to perform a self-inflicted mental exorcism to erase the past few moments, hopped up from her seat as if she had been scalded. “Right. Good talk. Will keep it under advisement. Gotta get dressed,” she declared, bolting from the room. I think her little feet actually left a smoke trail in their wake. Her leg was definitely all healed.
I glanced at Mae and she eyed me over her steaming cup of coffee as she took a sip.
Somebody save me.
Blitz Tour Wide Giveaway
A signed copy of STORMFRONT + Swag
Open to US and Canada; ends August 19th