Title: Shattered Castles
Author: E.M. Tippetts
Age Group: YA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 9/22/14
Cover Designer: Rebecca Berto
Pelican Bluffs is a town built on secrets. Nestled away among the redwoods on the northern California coast, it is the only home Madison Lukas has ever known. Her classmates have been the same since she started kindergarten, and now that she's a junior in high school, the wider world looms on the horizon, but it's hard to know where to go when she has no idea where she came from.
Then one day, a message arrives from a stranger. A man who knows her face and her past, and who starts Madison on a journey of self discovery that she never could have imagined. Along the way friends turn into enemies and lives shatter. Can Madison Lukas endure the truth and come in to her own? Or will the secrets that destroyed her family, destroy her as well?
My heel bumps against the door and I can’t back up any further. I shut my eyes, not sure if he’s going to try to kiss me or what, but it’s the pad of his thumb that touches my lips, not his mouth. I can feel him close, though, close enough that his breath dances across my skin. His fingers splay out across my cheek and he sweeps his thumb along my cheekbone.
My next breath comes out shaky as he settles his hand against the side of my neck and strokes the line of my jaw. I open my eyes and see that he hasn’t leaned down. He’s still staring at me with that unreadable look.
“This one of your games?” I ask.
“What do you want?” Those words come out defiant, angry. Why am I angry?
Rather than pull back, he steps closer and touches his lips to my forehead. He takes his time, and when I don’t flinch away, he moves to kiss my temple, his thumb tracing a line down the side of my throat. He steps closer still, until our bodies touch and he presses me gently against the door as he kisses my closed eyelid, my cheek, the tip of my nose.
I lift my hands with the half formed intention of pushing him away. He’s messing with me. He’s figured out how I feel about him and is just going to use me. But my hands grasp his waist instead. I want, so badly, for this to be real.
He slides his arm behind the small of my back, pressing me even closer to him, as he tilts my head to one side and touches his lips to my neck. The sensation sends a tremor through me and my fingers tighten. His kisses move down to the hollow just above my clavicle, and I find my arms are around him now. I’m holding him, encouraging him. One hand I slide up his back to grasp his shoulder.
But still he takes his time, his mouth soft as a caress against my skin, then he pauses, breathing like he’s just run up a flight of stairs. I can feel my pulse pounding in my ears and fingertips. I lift my head and he moves his hand from my neck down to my hip. Our noses touch and I nuzzle him, taking my time now, gauging how he feels by his ragged breathing. My hand goes from his shoulder to the back of his neck, where I run the tips of my nails across his skin.
He sucks in his breath and I lean up to kiss him. The first time our lips touch, I break it off, but the second time, I relax and savor the sensation of his mouth on mine. His kisses are light, and I can’t get enough of them. We kiss and kiss until I feel him gasp and realize I’ve barely let him breathe.
“Sorry,” I whisper. “
It’s all right.” He chuckles and leans his forehead against mine.
Emily Mah Tippetts writes science fiction as Emily Mah and sweet romance as E.M. Tippetts. A lifelong New Mexican, she lives with her family in Santa Fe, though she's been known to spend years at a time in the UK, her second home. Aside from being a writer, she's been a lawyer and jeweler, and is currently a stay at home mother, polymer clay artist, book designer/formatter, and owner of E.M. Tippetts Book Designs.
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