Monday, July 10, 2017

Spotlight/Giveaway: Paper Hearts

Title Paper Hearts
Series Heartbreak Chronicles, book 2
Author Ali Novak
Release Date July 4, 2017
Publisher Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN 9781492653363

“I’m sorry,” he said, slowly untying the ribbon that held his mask in place. “It’s just—I didn’t want you to think of me any differently.”

Somehow I kept my mouth from falling open. I knew his face, but my mind couldn’t accept that he was the person looking down at me.

“My real name is Alec.”

Felicity has her entire future planned. Ever since her older sister ran away, she’s had the full weight of her mother’s expectations on her shoulders. So she works hard to get straight As and save for college.

Except sometimes the best things in life are unplanned—like when Felicity meets a handsome, masked stranger while she is volunteering at a charity masquerade ball. She never thought he’d flirt with her. And she certainly never thought he’d turn out to be a member of the world-famous Heartbreakers band, Alec.

Then Felicity uncovers a shocking family secret. Suddenly, she, Alec, and her two best friends are off on a road trip to find Felicity’s missing sister. And she’s about to discover that unexpected turns have a peculiar way of landing her right where she needs to be…

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“When I first saw you standing there,” he said, “I thought you were someone else.”
Of course
, I thought. Here we go again. I knew what his answer would be, but I asked, “Really, who?”
“Don’t laugh, but I thought you were Violet James. She’s the actress in—”
He’d asked me not to, but I couldn’t help but laugh. “Yeah, I know who she is.”
Violet James, a.k.a. vampire princess Lilliana LaCroix from Immortal Nights. The show was her first starring role, and ever since it aired, people insisted we could be twins. I didn’t see it. Violet had pale hair and light-brown, almost golden eyes, which was a stark contrast to my red mane and green ones. Yet, whenever I ventured into the touristy areas of LA, people would stop me on the street to ask for an autograph.
It wasn’t that I hated being compared to Violet. After all, she was beyond gorgeous, but it always came up when I met someone new. It didn’t matter who the person was. I could be meeting the president of the United States or the Little Mermaid, and sooner or later they would point out the resemblance. In fact, I’d heard it so many times that I knew exactly how the conversation would go. Normally I was asked personal questions about Violet (as if looking
like someone gave you the power to read their mind), when the next season would start (suddenly I had insider information?), and if I could do that Lilliana quote that everybody seemed to love. (No, I’m not quoting a sex scene!)
But tonight something entirely different happened. Aaron went off script.
“As soon as you glanced my way, I knew you weren’t her.” He said this like it was amusing.
“When Violet looks at you, she has a way of making you feel minuscule even if you’re six feet tall.” Aaron spoke about Violet as if they knew each other, but he was quick to change the subject. “So you never said. What are you doing here tonight?”
“Oh, I volunteer for the CCA.”
For the first time since I met him, Aaron smiled. It was one of those slow half grins, and my lips tugged up in response. “Normally my dad has to drag me to these social events, but I have a friend who”—he hesitated, his smile disappearing—“has a close connection to the cause.”
…meaning his friend has cancer. Or has a family member with cancer. Either way, it was terrible. My first thought was to offer some type of condolence, but I didn’t know anything about his friend’s situation, and Aaron clearly wasn’t willing to get into the details. The best thing I could do was be friendly and maybe try to wrangle another smile out of him.
“Well, you’ll be happy to hear that my particular job is integral to the cause,” I said, splaying a hand against my chest. “I spent the earlier part of my evening working coat check.”
This made him laugh. It wasn’t loud or long, but there was enough of a chuckle to make my heart flutter.
“In this heat?” And as if to make a point, he unbuttoned his tuxedo jacket and tugged it off. After folding it neatly and setting it down between us, he reached for his bow tie. “Do you
mind if I…?”
“Nope.” I grinned and kicked off my heels. “Oh, thank God. These evil things remind me why I’m not fond of formal wear.” As fun as it was to get dressed up in a ball gown, the pain in my feet was far from glamorous.
“Aside from your dress,” he said, and I couldn’t tell if he was teasing me or asking a question.
Dammit, we’re back to this topic again?
“I honestly don’t care about the stain.” I glanced down at the brown spot. Now that it was dry, it was much less noticeable. “It’s just…” I didn’t know how to explain my plan to return the dress without sounding horrible. Aaron didn’t prompt me further. He sat there, staring at me until I figured out what to say. “Okay, I’ll tell you why I flipped, but if I do, you’re going to think less of me.”
Aaron looked me directly in the eye. “I highly doubt that.”
“Wanna bet?” I asked, but I didn’t wait to hear his answer. “I left the price tag on.”
He was quiet for a moment as he considered my words. “That makes you a bad person?”
“Yeah, because I was going to wear it and return it. Look, I’ve never done something like that before, but all the volunteers had to dress up for the ball and I don’t own any formal dresses, and this was the least expensive one I could find, but tuition at Stanford is going to be ridiculous and—”
Before I could finish, he held up a hand to cut off my rambling. “No. I don’t think you would have done that.”
“How do you know?”
“I’m an excellent judge of character,” he said, like it was a fact and not his own opinion.
“How does that work? Wait, don’t tell me… Intuition? Spidey senses?”
Aaron shook his head.
“Then what?” I demanded. I needed to know how he understood something about me before I did, especially considering we’d just met. Because as soon as Aaron announced that I wouldn’t return the dress, I knew he was right. I didn’t have the guts to follow through.
“Because,” he said matter-of-factly. “I’ve never seen anyone look as guilty as you do over something they haven’t actually done.”
He stood and brushed off his pants, and I was positive he was ditching me—which, I realized, is probably a good thing, because our entire encounter thus far had been mortifying. But then he did something I didn’t expect. He sucked in a quick breath and held out his hand.
“Would you like to go for a walk?” he asked, gesturing at the gardens.
He seemed eager and cautious in the same instant, and it put every humiliating second from tonight out of my head. I glanced down at his outstretched fingers, and a slow smile worked its way onto my lips.
Okay, cute guy. Why not?
I put my hand in his and let him lead the way.

About the Author

Ali Novak writes contemporary young adult romance and is a recent graduate of the University of Madison Wisconsin's creative writing program. She wrote her first full length novel, My Life with the Walter Boys, at the age of fifteen. Since posting the story online, it has received more than 33 million reads and is now published by Sourcebooks Fire.


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