From senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match.
After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks.
As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate—that she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairytales—she unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson.
Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love after the betrayals of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, this may be difficult to accomplish.
Complicating things further for Holland and Mick, time runs out, and Holland’s change begins way before schedule. With Holland quickly morphing into a dangerous mythical creature, Mick struggles to save her.
Should they fail, Holland will be lost to the beast inside her forever.
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, fairytale redux
Date of Publication: 4/17/14
Number of pages: 340
Word Count: 80K
Cover Artist: Michelle Johnson of Blue Sky Designs
Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * Kobo
I turned and walked away, not wanting to hear any more apologies. How many would I have to hear? I think I’d paid my dues and suffered enough. After all, I wasn’t the one who went behind her back with her boyfriend of four years.
I’d lost the two most important people in my life and she was the one crying? Ha.
I made it to the bathroom before my tears fell. I hadn’t let them really see how they’d broken me yet, and after four months, I sure as hell wasn’t going to start now. After checking to see that the room was empty, I huddled in the handicap stall and cried as quietly as I could, surrounded by graffiti-damaged gray walls, perfectly fitting for my mood.
When the bell rang a few minutes later, signaling I was late for my next class, I pulled out my compact and looked at my face. Puffy eyes. Fantastic. The red nose I could blame on the cold February winds, but the puffiness was a dead giveaway.
I focused on my blue eyes for a moment; sure I could see it if I only stared long enough.
I know you’re in there.
My eyes had started to change, the blue of my irises slowly seeping away. Only slightly, but enough that I could see the transformation. They were dull, grayer in color than they used to be. Surely, if anyone noticed, they’d probably just attribute the change to my depression.
I knew differently. Something wrong lived inside me, something that wasn’t fully me. Something foreign. Though, what it was, I had no idea.
The main bathroom door opened with a swoosh, followed by the loud thumping of heavy footsteps. I heard each stall door open with the bang of a fist against the metal door, and a swoosh-clank as each door flew inward and slammed against the toilet paper dispenser. One by one, the doors opened as the person made their way to me.
When the cacophony stopped, black boots—with flat soles that had to have been a good five inches tall—parked right outside my stall. Squatting, with both feet up on the lid of the toilet seat, whoever stood there couldn’t see me. But the previous nine stall doors slamming open were plenty indication of what to expect next.
I climbed off the toilet lid and stood, unwilling to be caught off guard, even though I absolutely already was. I waited.
She cleared her throat.
Screw this. I wiped my tears from my cheeks. Like you own the place, I reminded myself. I opened the door and took a step back so I could see this psycho chick, whoever she was.
“Hey, Holland, right? I’m Rosemarie Stevenson. I’m new here.”
Her feminine name and sweet-sounding voice were in stark contrast from her strange clothing and door-punching habits. And her boots had more buckles than a straitjacket.
I almost laughed when I noticed that her face wasn’t nearly as scary as I’d assumed it would be. My gaze travelled down, from her tutu-corset thing-a-ma-jig, to her ripped purple and black tights, down to her crazy-ass boots. Then I brought my focus back to her face, and my head tilted slightly on its own accord. She was actually really pretty.
For a crazy chick in a Halloween costume.
The purple glitter eye shadow made her irises seem almost violet in color, and her jet black hair was cropped short and somewhat jagged. All she lacked were some sparkly fairy wings.
I peered over her shoulder, just to make sure wings weren’t fluttering behind her.
Her arm was still outstretched in front of me. I glanced at her black-tipped fingernails and ignored her awaiting hand, instead deciding to ask the pressing question.
“If you’re new here, how do you know my name?”
“Oh, please. You’re Holland Briggs. Aren’t you, like, famous around here?”
“Yeah, well, if you’re wondering if I burned a house down with my ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend inside, you can wonder no longer. I just had last period with both of them, and they’re as fine as ever.”
I pushed past her, irritated that she was new here and already knew the rumors that I’d hoped to one day live down. How people could think I tried to kill Rod and Leslie even after they both returned to school and hung out with these idiots every day, I had no idea. Add to that Leslie’s daily pleading fests, and it was any wonder how people could still blame me, when she clearly did not.
“Wait! Holland! I’m sorry. We got off on the wrong foot. Can we start over?”
I spun on my heels and faced the new girl.
“Okay, Rosemarie, was it? I appreciate that you’re new here, and by looking at you I can see that you wanted to align yourself with the biggest freak in school, but I tend to keep to myself and don’t need any crazy-ass fangirls, okay?”
Her mouth fell open, but I didn’t care. She’d get over it.
I slipped out the door and back into the hallway, heading not for the cafeteria, but instead for the senior parking lot. Turned out I was ditching for lunch at Harbor House after all.
When I got to the car, Cam waited for me, his infectious smile already making me feel better.
“I knew you’d change your mind.”
I shook my head and slid into the driver’s seat of my red VW Cabriolet. Cam climbed in on the other side and tried to roll down his window, even though he knew from trying every single day before this one that it was a lost cause.
“Sure glad it’s cold out today because I can’t seem to get my window to roll down,” he said. “I don’t know why you insist on driving this car. You know Mom and Dad will get you whatever you want. Maybe even something from this century.”
“I love this car. It was Mr. Greenburg’s, and he trusts me to take care of it. Plus”—I waved my hand around the old interior—“character.”
“If you hate Penny so much, why do you insist on driving to school with me?”
As soon as the words left my mouth I regretted them. We both knew why Cam hardly ever left my side, and I hated bringing it up. I was past it, but no one else seemed to think so. My little brother had sort of taken on the role of bodyguard, confidant, and babysitter. Always making sure poor Holland wasn’t heading for the deep end again.
“So who was that weird fairy-looking chick that followed you outside?”
I quickly glanced back at the doors to the school as I left the parking lot, and sure enough, my newest fan stood outside watching us drive away. As I brought my attention back to the road, I turned the corner and my view of her disappeared.
“Some new girl. She heard about my experience with pyromania and wanted my autograph.”
“Nice! Did you give it to her?”
“Fuck off, Cam.”
“Nice again! Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”
I glanced at him, his brown eyes sparkling. “I kiss your mother with this mouth.”
He groaned. “You do know that ‘your mama’ jokes aren’t funny when she’s your mom too, right?”
“So, was Leslie waiting outside for you after Physics again?”
“Is she ever not?” I asked, pulling Penny onto the freeway.
“Wow. She needs to give up already. But I have to hand it to her: she’s got a lot of nerve. And stamina. Nerve for thinking you’ll ever forgive her, and stamina for the relentless apologizing. I couldn’t apologize for that long, that’s for sure.”
“When have you ever apologized anyway, Cam?”
“Pssh, when have I ever needed to?”
Twenty minutes later, we parked in the lot behind the Harbor House Café in Dana Point. My stomach growled just thinking about it. Cheese fries and a chocolate shake: the lunch of champions.
Jessa Russo believes in fairytales, ghosts, and Jake Ryan. She insists mimosas were created for Sundays, and that’s not up for discussion. She’s obsessed with the great city of New Orleans—where she’s collected too many beads to count, eventually married her sweetheart, and visited graveyards they don’t include on maps.
She’s loud, painfully honest, and passionate about living life to the fullest, because she’s seen how abruptly it can be taken away.
What began as a desire for reading and writing young adult paranormal has bled into stories of all kinds. From fantasy to pre-dystopian to erotic contemporary, Jessa’s stories always include romance, though she’s given up on pigeonholing her work into a category or genre box.
Jessa was born and raised in Southern California, and remains there to this day with her husband (a classic car fanatic), their daughter (a Tim Burton superfan), and a Great Dane who thinks he’s the same size as his Chihuahua sister.
ENTWINED, the final installment of Russo’s Ever Trilogy, will be released later this year, as well as an erotic romance written under the pseudonym Parker Jameson, so please stay tuned!
If you'd like to connect with Jessa online, please visit the following pages:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads
1book bundle that includes:
1 signed paperback of DIVIDE
1 signed paperback of EVER (Book One of The Ever Trilogy)
1 signed paperback of EVADE (Book Two of The Ever Trilogy)
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Divide was a creative and unique spin on the typical Beauty and the Beast.
There were alternating POVs. The heroine was Holland and Mick was the hero. You will hear from both of them!
I don't want to give to much away. I really liked the characters, especially Cam. As far as brothers go, he as wonderful. I wish I could have had him instead of my brother. LOL!
Divide had some suspense, drama, great characters, some humor, romance and action.
I do have to warn that the first part drags a little. However, the pace picks up by the middle and continues on that way until the end. Totally worth waiting for the change in pace!
If you like Beauty & the Beast type books, suspense, or HEAs, you'll want to read this one.
I received an ecopy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I thought it was a beast of a beautiful book! :-) I liked this one so very much that I can't even think of an appropriate word. Fantastic, terrific, awesome, etc... they just don't do it justice.
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