Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Fight Club meets Black Swan—Rachel wakes up in a ditch to find she doesn’t remember the last year of her life, and that everything—including herself—is vastly different than she remembers.
Yesterday, Rachel went to sleep listening to Taylor Swift, curled up in her grammy’s quilt, worrying about geometry. Today, she woke up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised, and missing a year of her life.
She doesn’t recognize the person she’s become: she’s popular. She wears nothing but black.
Black to cover the blood.
And she can fight.
Tell no one.
She’s not the only girl to go missing within the last year…but she’s the only girl to come back. She desperately wants to unravel what happened to her, to try and recover the rest of the Lost Girls.
But the more she discovers, the more her memories return. And as much as her new life scares her, it calls to her. Seductively. The good girl gone bad, sex, drugs, and raves, and something darker…something she still craves—the rush of the fight, the thrill of the win—something she can’t resist, that might still get her killed…
The only rule is: There are no rules.
His Harley was parked at the curb, in a pocket of shadow, blocked from the streetlight and behind one of the flowering trees Dad had planted earlier this year. Dylan started to hand me a helmet, but stopped, as if there was something else more important.
“There’s something I have to do,” he said.
I thought maybe he needed to give me a few pointers on how to ride a motorcycle, that I should lean into the curves, that I should hold onto him, that I shouldn’t be afraid because he was a great driver.
I was wrong.
He slipped one arm around my waist and pulled me close, so close that I couldn’t have gotten away if I wanted to, while his other hand cupped my jaw, thumb just below my mouth, long fingers brushing against my ear. “I’ve wanted to do this since you got back,” he said, his voice a low, hoarse whisper.
I wanted to say, me, too, but I didn’t get a chance.
His lips found mine in the darkness where we could barely see each other, where the heat of his body melted into mine. There were two short, gentle kisses as if he didn’t believe I would be here very long, that I might disappear at any moment, and then after that came the third kiss—
The third kiss stole my heart.
And my soul.
I didn’t remember our first date or what we had in common or who was his favorite band, but I remembered this. I remembered a thousand kisses, a hundred nights, a million stars glittering overhead. We leaned into each other, as if we were each drawing an electric charge from the other, as if we’d been unplugged and powerless but now we were stronger, invincible, immortal. The world stopped spinning and we were all that existed; there were no other people, no cities, no countries; there was only this.
His lips pressed against mine, his scent filling the air, his hands touching me.
And then at last, the kiss ended and we stared into each other’s eyes, me remembering, him knowing, both of us breathless.
“I almost lost you,” he said, his words soft as if he couldn’t say them very loud because it would show how strong the emotion was.
“I’m here, I’m safe.”
He shook his head. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you,” he said. “I haven’t always been”—he hesitated—“a very good person. But I’m going to do everything I can to make sure no one ever hurts you again.”
He had a way of enchanting me with his words, maybe it was the poet in him, maybe this was easy for him, but it didn’t matter. I knew he was telling the truth.
I just didn’t know if I wanted to be safe.
5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Being an Author By Merrie Destefano
Even though I’ve worked in publishing for a long time, there were tons of things about being a published author that I didn’t know beforehand. I’m sure someone tried to tell me these things, but I don’t think I was listening. I was too focused on that magical stardust possibility of getting my books in print and launching a career in writing. I don’t know if I realized it’s a business, just like any other business. So, it took me awhile to get things figured out. I got discouraged along the way, changed my genre and market a few times, wrote a bunch of books that didn’t sell and wrote some that did. Fortunately, somewhere along the way I managed to learn a few things that kept me going. Here are five things that have helped me and, hopefully, if you’re a writer, they’ll help you too.
- I love writing even more now. I never thought that was possible, but it is and I do. I’ve learned to love writing for the sheer joy of the process. It doesn’t matter whether something I write gets published or not, or whether it gets good or bad reviews. I wrote it. I don’t stop working on a book until it is the best that it can be.
- Other writers are my friends and companions on this journey of publication. They’re not my competition, even though readers may choose their books over mine. We’re all in this together and I’ve been amazed at how supportive the writing community is.
- There are always new things to learn about writing. There will always be ways to become a better writer and new methods to craft a story. I love the fact that I can continue to learn and grow.
- It’s hard work. It was much harder after I was published than it was before. Before, I could take two or three years to finish a book. I could even scrap an idea entirely and just start working on something else. Now, there are things like contracts and deadlines and promotional schedules and book launches and speaking engagements and author newsletters and social media and blogging…it’s almost like there’s no time left for day jobs or writing. That leads me to point number 5.
- It’s very important to create a schedule that works for you. Some people write every day. I don’t. I don’t have time and I’d end up with way too many unfinished projects that nobody wanted. I write about one or two books per year, writing in seasons of about 3 months per book. The rest of the time I practice being a real human who goes outside and does laundry and hangs out with other humans.
About the author
CURRENTLY A FULL-TIME NOVELIST and magazine editor, Merrie Destefano’s next novel, LOST GIRLS, releases on January 3, 2017. Her other novels include AFTERLIFE and FEAST, both published by HarperCollins, and FATHOM, which was self-published. The editor of Victorian Homes magazine, she has also been the editor of American Farmhouse Style, Vintage Gardens, and Zombies magazine, and was the founding editor of Cottages & Bungalows magazine.
With 20 years experience in publishing, she worked for a variety of publishing/broadcasting companies that include Focus on the Family, The Word For Today, and PJS Publications (now Primedia). Besides editing and writing, her background includes print buying, writing/producing radio promos, directing photo shoots, developing new products, writing jacket copy for books, creating sales media packets and organizing direct mail campaigns.
Born in the Midwest, she currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two German shepherds, a Siamese cat and the occasional wandering possum. Her favorite hobbies are reading speculative fiction and watching old Star Trek episodes, and her incurable addiction is writing. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies, listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time.
All prizes listed below will be given to one prize winner.
Prizes listed are for a US winner only; if an International winner is chosen, the prize will be a $50 Amazon gift card.
- 1 – Kindle Fire Tablet, black: 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB, 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, with the Alexa cloud-based voice service—just press and ask.
- 1 – digital Kindle copy of LOST GIRLS
- 1 – Pack of 14 vintage-style Swan Lake postcards
- 1 – pr. Black Swan earrings, handmade by author
- 1 – “Always” temporary tattoo