Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Tour, Guest Blog and Review: The Lumina Saga by Stephanie Amox...

Painfully Ordinary
The Lumina Saga 

Book One
Stephanie Amox

Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: CENA
Date of Publication: Jan 2013
ISBN: 148194780X

Number of pages: 225
Word Count: 86,175
Cover Artist: Photography by Nikki Nichols Photography

Book Description

Two teenager's lives become not so ordinary...

Caitlin and Leah are content with the slow and steady pace in their small Texan town. They have the typical challenges of any American high school - evil girl cliques and oppressive ex-boyfriends. They see themselves as painfully ordinary...but that soon changes. The arrival of two newcomers at school sets Caitlin and Leah on an explosive path of magic, betrayal, secrets and forbidden love. The discovery of Caitlin's true identity causes tremendous upheaval in her painfully ordinary life. Caitlin must learn to embrace her birthright and trust in her friends or she risks endangering them all.



The strange woman glided through the dark to the edge of the bed and stared into my eyes. Her long, straight, chestnut-colored hair flowed around her face, as she moved with the grace, beauty and strength of a Native-American princess. Wearing a fluid, white dress, she made me conscious of the oversized T-shirt and cheer shorts I had worn to bed. Truthfully, she could have made Aphrodite feel frumpy. Her eyes were a breathtaking shade of violet, and while gorgeous, they definitely were not soothing. I clutched the covers to my chin with shaking hands and shuddered as she stood, openly assessing me. This was not her first visit. Other times, she stood just outside my open bedroom door looking in. As time passed, she became more aggressive. Well, maybe aggressive isn’t the right word—perhaps she just got bolder. I couldn’t figure out who she was or what she wanted from me. What terrified me most is that she never said a word. I grew paranoid about doors being open while I slept—as if closing the door to my room could shut the door on my dreams. Suddenly, I noticed the shadowy silhouette of a man standing in the far corner of my room. Had he come with the strange woman? Somehow, his presence was far more malevolent. I pulled the covers tight over my head, and when I finally emerged, he was gone. “Ciro” whispered through the inky darkness of my room. Sleep eluded me for quite some time after that experience.
“Caitlin…” Mom said in a singsong voice.
Ugh. Was it morning already? One thing for certain, the nightmares were getting worse. If this kept up, I was going to be completely sleep deprived. I had faced the same dream almost every night for the last few months. They were getting creepier by the day—or night—whichever the case might have been. I kept waiting for something even more ominous to happen, and found myself peeking around corners everywhere I went.
I tried talking to Mom about the dreams a couple of times, but each time I brought them up, she would bite her bottom lip and look away. Then she’d turn back to me with a smile and say, “Oh, Caiti, it was just a dream. You are being so dramatic,” and change the subject.
But I knew better.
She only chewed on her lip like that when she was really stressed about something. I got the impression she wasn’t comfortable talking about the woman in my dream. I didn’t know why, but it was so frustrating.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I absolutely adored my crazy mom. She can be my best friend and fiercest protector. I guess if I were honest with myself, I’d have to say we do have a few things in common. People will sometimes mistake her for my older sister instead of my mom. It is so irritating, but of course, I know she loves it.
“Caiti…get up! You are going to be late!” Mom yelled from the foot of the stairs.
“Okay, Okay, I’m up, I’m up.” I grumbled.
I rolled over on my side and sat up, throwing my legs over the side of my bed, and whimpering. Pushing my tangled hair back from my face, I glanced up at the large tank that sat on top of my dresser and watched my turtle happily jetting around his tank. At least Faffy was happy to be up this morning.
Standing, I stretched, and dragged myself into the bathroom, which, thanks to my mom’s willingness to reassign the guest bathroom, I no longer had to share with my little brother. My phone vibrated on the bathroom counter, and I grabbed it before it fell into the sink. The incoming text was from my best friend, Leah—the one person outside my family who really gets me.
r u up yet???
ya, what’s up?
Can u get 2 school early?
Idk… ill try. im not rdy yet
hurry up i have BIG news
I unplugged my straightening iron. My hair, thick and curly, hung halfway down my back. It would take forever to straighten, and there was no way I’d have enough time if I were going to get to school early. I dug through the pile of clean clothes in my papasan chair. Mom was always nagging me about how much easier it would be to find things if I just put them away. Whatever—that’s way too much work.
Settling on a pair of jeans and a shirt from my favorite hockey team, I snatched my bag and phone off my dresser and ran down the stairs. I could put my makeup on during the drive to school.
“That was fast.” Mom said.
I shrugged. “Leah needs me.”
My mom laughed as my little brother’s head popped up from his breakfast, his cheeks reddening slightly at the mention of Leah’s name. He shoved the last bite of his sausage biscuit into his mouth and jumped off the barstool.
“I’b rebbyy,” he said around a mouthful of sausage.
The majority of the ride to Brady’s school and then to mine, was punctuated with the hum of incoming text messages. Mom watched me out of the corner of her eye and smiled.
“Is Leah going to last until you can get to school?”
I had to snicker at her.
“What is she so wound up about?” she asked.
Rolling my eyes, I let my phone drop into my lap.
“I have no idea,” I said, shaking my head. “But after all this, it better be something really good.”
We pulled up to the back door leading to the cafeteria, and I could already see Leah hopping from one foot to the other. When she saw our car, she waved frantically.
My mom chuckled. “You two try to stay out trouble today, okay?”
Rolling my eyes and slinging my backpack over one shoulder, I strolled toward Leah. As it turned out, she couldn’t even wait for me to get inside, and ended up meeting me halfway to the doors.
“Oh my God! Oh my God! What took you so long to get here? Did you hear the news?”
She threw her long, blonde hair over one shoulder, blue eyes flashing with excitement. She was talking so fast, she grew breathless.
I held both palms up in front of me. “Easy, turbo, slow down for a minute. You are making me dizzy.”
She grimaced and rolled her eyes.
“Okay, now. What is this earth-shattering news which made you text me nonstop this morning? My mom probably thinks you are having some sort of episode.”
Leah raised one eyebrow and grumbled, “Would you be serious?”
Surprised at the outburst, I patted her on the shoulder apologetically.
“I’m sorry. I was just messing with you. So what is the big news?”
Slightly mollified, she took a deep breath before continuing.
“Guuuurrl…”she fanned her face with one hand.
I noticed several brightly colored butterflies flying around her head. Where in the world had those come from?
“Have you heard about the two bits of hotness that just transferred? I got a text from Morgan before I even got here this morning.”
“Huh?” I was slightly dazed and blinked rapidly. I was so distracted by her halo of butterflies that I hadn’t even paid attention to what she was saying.
Leah’s hand shook and acted like she was going to have the episode I accused her of earlier.
“Caiti? Are you even listening to me?”
“I’m sorry. I’m just really tired, and I need more sleep. Okay, so we have two new hotties. What’s their story? I mean, who are they, and where did they transfer from?” I asked before waving my hand dismissively. “Not that it really matters, since Tami and her band of Alley Cats will latch onto them soon enough.”
Leah’s eyes sparkled again as she patted my arm excitedly.
“That’s just it! No one knows anything about them, since they seem kind of keep to themselves. They walked right past that whole group and didn’t even look twice. It was great! Tami and her entire crew appeared so confused. Wait until you see them. Daaaaaayum. On top of looking good, they have the most incredible accents. They sound Russian or something. It’s totally exotic…,” she paused. ”…and hot.”
I bit my bottom lip. “Well, what do they look like? How will I know when I see them?”
She shook her head. “Oh, don’t worry, you’ll know. Whew, girl, will you know!”
I didn’t even have time to think about what that meant before she grabbed me by the arm.
“Hurry up—we don’t want to be late!”

I stumbled into geometry in a fog, still thinking about what she’d said. Why did they move here, of all places? I plopped down into my seat and grimaced at the board. I was sure the Alley Cats would gather and start circling the newcomers in record time.
I tapped my pencil on the edge of my desk, impatiently waiting for Mr. Von to start class. Sometimes, I wondered how he managed to get himself dressed in the morning. Suddenly, my pencil slipped out of my hand, rolled off the edge of my desk and clattered to the floor.
I bent down to pick it up and found myself staring into the face of the most stunningly gorgeous guy I had ever seen. He had rugged good looks, instead of being the pretty-boy, male model type. Vin Diesel might have some competition for my attention with this guy.
Holy crap! This must be one of the newcomers Leah described this morning. Whew—she wasn’t exaggerating. No wonder she was all wound up.
I had no idea how long my internal monologue went on, but I realized he was still holding my pencil out to me.
“Thanks.” I mumbled, blushing to the tips of my ears.
Oh, man! Why hadn’t I straightened my hair this morning and worn something cute?
Tami twisted around in her chair, watching me through narrowed eyes. I had never been able to stand her, so I just stared back and raised an eyebrow in challenge. She glanced from me to where he was sitting directly behind her, and it wasn’t until that point I realized he was still studying me.
Tami turned all the way around in her chair and placed her hand lightly on his arm, showing him a row of perfectly straight teeth.
“Oh, you’ll have to excuse Caitlin,” she said in a sickeningly sweet, baby voice and giggled. “She is just so uncoordinated.”
Oh, no she didn’t! Who was she calling uncoordinated? Unfortunately, my emotions tend to show all over my face. When I’m pissed, everyone knows it, and I was all kinds of pissed at her.
She refused to break eye contact, daring me to do something. Normally, I would just blow her off. I really didn’t care what she thought, and frankly, she was a waste of energy. However, this time, something inside me snapped.
Perhaps it was the whole lack of sleep thing again.
I granted my total attention to the newcomer, flashing him my brightest smile. He appeared startled and presented me with a grin in return that took my breath away.
“Oh, ignore Tami. She’s just mad because someone dropped a house on her sister.”
He stared down at the floor and, to his credit, didn’t actually laugh, but I saw his shoulders shake.
Tami glared at me.
“Caitlin, you are such a freak.” Leaning closer to me and lowering her voice, she continued. “You can just forget about him. He won’t want some little nobody like you. He will be mine. I’ll tell Ryan you were looking at him, and that will be the end of that, won’t it?”
This was exactly the kind of thing that always set Ryan off. Ex-boyfriends were the absolute worst. She fixed a fake smile on her face and carried on watching the newcomer like he was a juicy steak and she was starving.
Tami always used the exact same tactics, and he would probably fall for it just like all the others before him–and believe me, there were plenty before him. I pivoted in my seat just in time to see him scowl and remove Tami’s hand from his arm.
I laughed aloud, couldn’t help myself. He bent his head, giving me a conspiratorial wink. Mr. Von decided to start class at that exact moment, so I never got to see her reaction, but I could only assume it wasn’t good, since this was the second time he had blown her off.
Throughout class, the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. Someone was watching me, but the only person sitting behind me was the new guy. Was it him? I really needed to find out his name, so I could stop referring to him as “the new guy”.
Why would he be watching me? I was painfully ordinary. Someone like him could have anyone he wanted.
I couldn’t figure him out. Then I suffered a moment of sheer panic, remembering how I had left the house in such a rush that morning.
I seriously hoped I didn’t have some sort of Alfalfa-thing going on with the back of my hair.
I rubbed my necklace between my fingers, as I always do when I’m upset. It’s a dark-gray stone cut into a unique pattern, like a flame, held on a long, black cord. My mom gave it to me when I turned sixteen, and made me promise to wear it every day. I never take it off, except when I’m at tumbling practice. The stone has been worn smooth by the constant rubbing, and holding it always relaxed me.
The bell rang, signaling the end of class. I must have completely lost track of time, but what else was new?
Tami got up from her desk, placing her arm in new-guy’s. She batted her eyelashes and said, “Talon, will you walk me to second period?”
I rolled my eyes.
Sorry, I am meeting up with Jace.” His voice was deep and smooth and he had the bluest eyes I had ever seen. He fixed his gaze on my necklace then grinned, pivoted on his heel, and left the room.
A trill of laugher escaped my lips. Strike three.
Tami’s face turned an ugly shade of purple. She threw her purse over her shoulder and glared at me.
“I’ll say hi to Ryan for you.”
Crap. This is exactly why I don’t normally banter with her. It’s just not worth the trouble in the end. She was going to make me pay for this encounter.
I laid my head on my desk and waited for the ground to open and swallow me whole.

My Review

I thought this was a really great romantic and enchanting page turner from beginning to end.

This book finds Caitlin and Leah, two teenagers leading the typical everyday, even sometimes boring highschooler's lives. One morning, Leah texts Caitlin, wondering if she can come to school early because there is some big news! It seems there are two new transfer students starting today and they are rumored to be good-looking. When they get to school and find these transfer students; Talon and Jace, are indeed good-looking, and better yet, are in the same classes as Caitlin and Leah, things start to look up for the girls. 

The four are obviously attracted to each other. Caitlin and Talon, and Leah and Jace. As they start to get to know each other and realize that they really do like each other, they form relationships and build bonds with each other. The way Stephanie Amox goes about this is so sweet and romantic, yet not the type that is overly done and gets sickening like so many authors do these days. 

When someone tries to kill Caitlin, the guys quickly jump in and take care of business, but also, Caitlin discovers that she has special powers. As the story unfolds, she will learn more and more about these special powers, sometimes even by accident. There are times in the story where Talon and Jace are once again in the position where they need to protect and save Caitlin and/or Leah and the girls and even the reader sometimes wonder if the guys are  really protecting them because they like them, or is it only because it's their job??

I don't want to give the story away, but I will say that you will want to grab your own copy and find out...

Family Secrets
The Lumina Saga 

Book Two
Stephanie Amox

Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: CENA
Date of Publication: Jan 2013
ISBN: 1481956841

Number of pages: 232
Word Count: 65,120

Book Description

Wailea, Maui would be a paradise by just about anyone’s standards. Caitlin and Leah are no different. They are living like rock stars with Talon and Jace in one of the poshest hotels on the island. Just when they think things can’t possibly get any better—everything falls apart. Their short lived paradise is ripped out from under them. Once again, they are on the run.

A mysterious man appears and attempts to drive a wedge between Caitlin and Talon. He whisks her away to an ancient world where she is treated like a princess yet held completely against her will. She is shown events, consequences and affairs she never dreamed possible. Will the secrets of her family destroy her happiness, or will she rely on her instincts to find a way back to the life she found with Talon?


The day after

I sighed happily, as I lay in Talon’s arms. The room had gradually returned to normal while the last of the sparks slowly rained to the floor. I still couldn’t believe we were joined … I would get to spend the rest of my life with Talon. He had guaranteed that last night when he got down on one knee and recited the ancient text that bound us together. I couldn’t wait to tell Leah everything, but for now, I was content simply to lie within the confines of the luxurious pillow-top mattress. Talon tightened his powerful arms around me and gently kissed the top of my head.
“Shall we order room service and go out onto the lanai to watch the sunrise?” Talon murmured into my ear.
I smiled at him shyly. “How did I get so lucky? What did I ever do to deserve having you in my life?”
Talon surprised me by laughing. He sounded so carefree and seeing him like this—he looked so young.
“I don’t know if lucky is the way I would describe it. I’m not sure you know what you have gotten yourself into, A Varyo joins for life. When you are away from me too long—it will cause me physical pain, as well as make me extremely agitated. Not to mention I will be worried about you – well, more than usual.”
I giggled. “And that would be different from normal because…?”
He growled and tickled my ribs. “The joke is on you, my little pixie, because now you will experience the same. I have to admit it works to my benefit—so can’t say I’m very sorry about it.” He shot me a boyish grin.
“Oh great—that’s just great --something else to make me uncomfortable in my own skin,” I said in mock anger.
Talon winked at me as he got up and headed to the door. “Well, that’s something you should have thought about before you agreed—no, you demanded—to be mine.
I threw a pillow at him and flopped back onto the bed. I wrapped my arms around myself, completely content. So much had changed over the last few weeks. My best friend, Leah, and I had gone from painfully ordinary juniors at Marcus High School to finding out we were from an ancient mythical race, called the Feydall, who are best described as fairies, and live in a kingdom of the same name.
We also found ourselves with Talon and Jace as our protectors - members of an ancient group called the Turvata. The Turvata were legendary for protecting royalty, and Talon and Jace were highly respected - even within that elite group. We still didn’t know whom to thank for sending them to us.
Talon is Varyo, a very ancient people known for their warriors. Driven by their duty to protect the ones to which they are assigned. They can become so immersed that they can lose the ability to see colors and often become emotionally numb – they just don’t care about anything but the job at hand. In very rare cases, they will find their true mate and their senses become extremely heightened. They become extremely attuned to their mate’s wants, needs and feelings.
Another unique feature of Talon's is his eyes. When he is calm and at ease, his eyes are a soft chocolate brown, but when his emotions are heightened – regardless of whether he’s angry or simply passionate about something – his eyes turn a beautiful, deep blue.
Jace, on the other hand, is Lykaios, able to shift into animal forms and has an acute sense of smell. He absolutely worships Leah, and I adore him for it.
Guess my mom and my ‘Uncle’ Johr were one of the biggest shocks in my life so far. Mom is a fairy princess… an honest-to-God fairy princess! Isn’t that unbelievable? Anyways, I very strongly suspect, due to some recent events, Johr is my true biological father, not Jason, the man I had called Dad —who we lived with my entire life. Jason was a Corpora, or human, who died in a car accident several months before my baby brother, Brady, was born – almost 10 years ago now.
Johr and my mom were together before she left Feydall. When she came to Corpora, also known as the human world, she met Jason and stayed. I know there’s more to that story, but I’d have to ask her at another time, since we haven’t seen either of them since the night the Accendersi raided our house.
Leah and I were able to create a portal that night—to Maui of all places—and escape safely with Talon and Jace. Now I fear my mother and Johr are going to have a few choice words about my newfound status as Mrs. Raikaa. As I said, Talon and I joined through an ancient rite, which we performed the previous night. Kinda like being married, just a whole lot more permanent.
I threw my legs over the side of the bed and sat up. Feeling completely refreshed and full of energy, this was surprising since we didn’t get a lot of sleep. I felt great… actually better than great—like being surrounded by a glow that comes from deep inside and explodes outward. Knowing me, with the right incentive, I could probably power half the island of Maui.
I skipped across the room, into the sprawling master bathroom and filled the tub with the soothing smell of the honey-mango bubble bath. I twisted my hair into a loose bun on top of my head and sank down into the water until the bubbles reached my neck and laid there, completely content, until I heard a small knock at the door. Talon popped his head in the doorway.
“My ves’tacha, your breakfast is ready…” He gave me a mischievous smile. “Unless, of course, you would prefer me to come join you in here?”
I cupped water in my hands and tossed it in his general direction. He ducked, laughing
“Hurry up, love—before everything gets cold. I have already laid out something for you to wear today.” He said with a grin as he closed the door behind him.
I stretched for a moment, grabbed the large fluffy towel with the Grand Wailea logo and wrapped it around me. I padded into the bedroom. The first thing I noticed was my emerald green bikini and a transparent black cover-up. Smiling to myself as I also spotted the matching black and green Billabong flip-flops I had pointed out in the store window the day before I shook my head in wonder.
I truly had no idea how he did it. He amazed me at every turn.
Talon rattled around in the living area. I didn’t want to make him wait, and if I was being honest with myself—I was very anxious to be with him as quickly as possible too. He had been away from me for perhaps thirty minutes, but the wings of ten thousand butterflies were already beating in my stomach, intensifying the longer we were apart. I put on the swimsuit and threw the cover-up over my shoulder, pushing the door open silently. My heart thudded in anticipation and must have beat louder than I thought, for Talon stopped what he was doing and turned to me with a mind-blowing smile.
He wore only a pair of black and green board shorts while his broad shoulders and muscular chest were left bare. I wondered if he had intentionally worn the same colors he laid out for me. I eyed him appreciatively but he held his hand, palm up signaling for me to wait where I was, then he strode past me into the master bedroom.
He came back with my brush and took me by the hand leading me back to the couch motioning for me to sit on the floor in front of him. I complied immediately—happy to simply be near him. He slid his feet forward, effectively cradling me while he pulled the ponytail holder free and dragged the brush through my hair with long strokes until we could practically hear it crackling. Talon put the brush down and began running his fingers through my hair murmuring “exquisite”.
There was a timid knock at the door separating our suite from Leah and Jace’s. Jumping up, I stepped over Talon and quickly headed to the door, I dropped my cover-up in my haste. Talon spun around on the couch and gasped audibly when he saw my swimsuit. I whipped around.
“Talon! What’s wrong?”
He didn’t answer, but instead jumped over the back of the couch. He grabbed me in his arms and covered my lips with his. He finally pulled back and gave a deep laugh. “Go on. Open the door before they think you were devoured for breakfast.”
I gave him a wry smile and headed back to the door. His diet was the one point of contention we had early in our relationship… since it consisted mostly of blood from anonymous donors. The Varyo are strange in that way. Most people might see him as a vampire, but nothing could be further from the truth. Talon loves being outside in the sun, surfing, swimming – you name it. He can eat normal foods; they just have to be extremely rare. Their main source of nutrition would be human blood. If they are still un-joined, they will seek out willing donors, but never take from the same one more than once in a month. To do so would run the risk of the donor going through the transformation and most Corpora don’t survive the process. Originally, Talon had refused to share this experience with me. He was so worried I might start the transformation. However, that was before we found out I was a true Ethereal and therefore immune to the dangers of the transformation. I couldn’t stand the thought of him having that kind of relationship with anyone else, so I had – in a way, forced his hand and tricked him into feeding on me. Unfortunately, Johr had walked in on that and it hadn’t gone very well.
I had hardly turned the lock when Leah burst through the door and grabbed me around the neck.
“Caiti! Oh my gosh! We saw the blue glow under the door last night and Jace told me what it meant. We are so excited for you—well… for you both! We have to celebrate today! What should we do?” She clapped her hands together in excitement.
Talon watched me avidly - anxious to hear what would make me happy.
Jace stepped out of the adjoining room, enveloping me in his strong arms. “Good morning, my little pixie. You are absolutely ravishing. Life with our Talon is going to suit you quite well.” He winked at Talon over the top of my head and continued. “So, you ladies were going to tell us how you wanted to spend the day celebrating?”
Leah grinned at him broadly before turning back to me with an expectant expression on her face. “Yeah, Caiti. What are we going to do?” I gave Leah an impish grin before reaching out to her mind.
Leah, just go along with me for a bit.
She grinned at me. Ok, whatever you say.
“Hey Leah, did you see the new flip-flops Talon got to go with my swimsuit? It’s a shame it’s been such a long time since we had a pedicure.” I said, chagrined. Leah sputtered as she tried to refrain from laughing out loud. Peeking at Talon out of the corner of my eye revealed his own twin orbs, blazing blue, as he tried to hold back the laughter.
“Okay, okay, my ’tacha. We will start your day of celebration with an afternoon at the spa with Leah. What would you like to do after that?”
“Well, actually I was thinking about having another smoothie, like the one I had yesterday, then simply lay about, ocean-side, and take a nap with you. After that, maybe we could play in the ocean and call room service for dinner on our lanai. Does that sound too boring for everyone else?”
Talon’s eyes lit up in blue flame. “That sounds absolutely perfect to me,” he said in a low voice. He referred to Leah and Jace. “What about you two? Does that work for you?”
Leah studied Jace for a minute and said, “Well, it sounds great except for one small thing.”
Jace’s brow furrowed. “What’s wrong?”
She let a slow smile spread across her face. “I don’t really want to take a nap with Talon. Maybe would it be okay if I shared a lounge with you instead?”
We all laughed.
Jace set about serving us pancakes from the huge stack on the table, while Talon spoke with the spa making arrangements for our special day.
“This is Talon Raikaa and I would like to make an appointment for my wife and Mrs. Leah Adair. Yes, give them the works. Start them with a manicure and pedicure, and then follow it up with a one hour massage.”
I was still in shock at Talon’s generosity. He had paid for everything from the moment we set foot in Maui, never complaining once about the cost. I seemed to be the only one worried about his finances. He kept assuring me that when you lived as long as he had you had a tendency to amass a great deal of money.
Leaning back in my chair I called over my shoulder. “Talon, can you please ask them to set it up as a couples massage? It always makes me a little uncomfortable being in the room with them by myself—seeing as we are ‘commando’ under the sheet.”
Talon’s eyes smoldered at me before he focused his attention back to the phone. “I’m sorry, but you will need to set that up in one of the couples rooms so the ladies can stay together. No, that is fine—the cost is not an issue. Make sure they can have lunch brought in if they want. Perfect. Thank you very much.”
He returned to us with a smile.
“Okay, ladies. You are all set up. You have about one hour before your spa appointment. You will have your manicure and pedicure first and then on to your massage. So, that leaves one question—how do you ladies want to spend the next hour?”
“Wow, is that a loaded question or what?” asked Jace.
We grinned at each other and said in unison. “The beach!”
Jace doubled over laughing. “Sometimes I think you two share the same brain. Okay, Leah—you better go put on your swimsuit so we can head out.”
Leah jumped up from the table and ran through the adjoining door with Jace right on her heels.
Rising from the table as well, I headed toward the master suite to touch up my makeup and grab my shoes. I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, gazing at my reflection. My eyes seemed brighter and my hair seemed glossier and a slightly more vibrant shade of red. I dug through my makeup bag on the counter. Talon appeared behind me, wrapping his strong arms around me and my heart immediately jumped into overdrive. The fire in his eyes grew, and I knew the change in my pulse hadn’t gone unnoticed. I met his intense gaze in the mirror and he quickly spun me around and pulled me into his arms, carrying me back into our room.
I was infinitely happy.
As if he heard my thoughts—his lips crashed down on mine and his pulse sped up to match my own. His lips trailed across my jaw line and down my throat and I let my head fall backwards as he buried his hands in my hair. He used his nose and slightly nudged the top edge of my bikini away and sunk in his teeth just below my collarbone.
As he fed, I whispered “I love you”.
He raised his head and stared at me as one red tear slipped down his cheek. “You have no idea how happy you make me. I finally feel complete.”
I stared back at him—speechless. How could anyone like him want someone as ordinary as me?
I wish she understood how much she means to me. Without her, my life would be nothing but darkness and shadow. The butterflies would be lost to me forever.
“Do you really mean that?” I asked him in a whisper.
His body twitched in shock. “What do you mean?”
“Did you mean it when you said without me your 'life would be nothing but darkness and shadow’?” I asked timidly.
He suddenly crushed me to him, squeezing so tightly I thought my ribs might crack.
“By all that is sacred! Caitlin, you just read my mind!” he exclaimed.
Jumping back, startled. “I did? I didn’t even realize.”
He cupped my chin in his hand. “Have you ever been able to hear me before?” he asked anxiously.
Shaking my head slowly, “No, I’ve never been able to hear anything from you or Jace.”
He smiled gently. “You shouldn’t be able to hear anything from us. Our races have what you might call a built-in defense system against mind readers. Wonder if it works the other way as well? Can you project your thoughts to me?” he asked excitedly.
I felt my excitement growing to match his. “I don’t know. I’ll try.”
Taking a deep breath, I focused all my concentration and formed an image in my mind—the memory of Talon, down on one knee, reciting the words which would bind me to him. He needed to see himself from my viewpoint. Mentally pushing the image to Talon with the words “I love you”, I watched intently for a reaction. I knew the moment my thought reached him.
Talon’s head jerked up and he slowly lowered himself to the edge of the bed. He sat there with his hands shaking for several moments.
“Is that really the way you see me?” he asked quietly.
I looked at him, alarmed, afraid the thought hadn’t come across accurately. “Talon, what did you see?”
He took my hands in his, “No, please do not misunderstand. It was amazing—the greatest gift I have ever received.”
My heart constricted as the tears slowly rolled down my flushed cheeks. A knock on the door interrupted us.
“Cay! Are you guys ready to go? We have to hurry if we are going to relax on the beach before we have to go to the spa,” Leah called through the door.
I walked to the door and opened it, my cheeks still flushed.
Leah raised her eyebrows and fought back a smile.
My face only reddened further. I quickly tried to divert her attention. “Let me see if I have this right—we need to hurry up so we can relax…before we go to the spa to relax?”
“Exactly!” She grinned at me brightly while Jace and Talon chuckled in the background. I jumped at the sound. I hadn’t even heard Talon follow me to the door.
“Well, let’s go then,” gesturing pointedly at Talon and Jace, “Are you guys ready?”
“Just one second,” Talon called over his shoulder while he ran back into our room. He came out with my cover-up and shoes in his hands. “Now, we’re ready,” he said with a smile.
Leah grabbed him around the neck and gave him a quick hug. “Thank you for taking such good care of my best friend.” Talon appeared genuinely surprised and then smiled back at her.
Jace wrapped an arm around my waist and squeezed gently. I elbowed him in the ribs and he raised his eyebrows as I said, “You turkey, you better take very good care of her. Understand? She is extremely important to me. Leah has always been there for me and I couldn’t bear to see her unhappy.”
“Me either,” Jace said seriously.
Jace let go of me to reach over and pull Leah into his arms. Talon wrapped his arms around me leaning me back against his massive chest.
A few minutes later, the four of us walked out of the suite hand in hand. Talon raised my left hand and kissed my knuckle just below my ring. He spun me, and then lifted me under my arms until we were at eye level. I wrapped my arms around him, kissing him softly before he gently set me down on my feet and we started down the path to the beach after Leah and Jace.

New Beginnings
The Lumina Saga 
Book Three 
Stephanie Amox

Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: CENA

Date of Publication: Jan 2013
Number of pages: 312
Word Count: 83,740

Book Description

What happens when the extraordinary fades into ordinary?

Caitlin awakens to find herself back in the normal life she shares with her best friend, Leah, in their small Texas town. Caitlin has no memory of the fantastic events of the last several months save a mystery man who haunts the shadows of her dreams. Constantly taken aback by strange occurrences: the sudden attention of the two most popular guys in school; Caitlin’s toe-to-toe showdown with Tami; and the constant coincidental run-ins with two mysterious strangers, keeps Caitlin’s nerves raw and on edge. Will she solve the mystery behind the strange events, or will the dreams be all that remains?


 Back to normal?

I awoke with a start to the sound of the alarm on my phone. Ugh. I was still so tired. I remembered having some really bizarre dreams starring a serious hottie. The only problem was I couldn’t remember any specific details about the dream or even what the guy had looked like. I only knew he had been hot… seriously so. I rolled over onto my back trying to recall even the slightest detail but it was just out of reach. Each time I started to form a picture in my mind it simply faded away. I finally gave up, swung my legs over the side of the bed, and caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror over Faffy’s tank. Yikes! My hair was a complete disaster. One glance at my phone told me I was already running late so there went any hopes of straightening my hair before school. Strangely enough, I was actually looking forward to school.
“Caiti, hurry up or you’ll be late,” Mom called from the bottom of the stairs.
I reached for my usual outfit consisting of a t-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes then changed my mind. I felt like wearing something cute. Not that there was anyone to impress. Ryan scared off anyone who showed even the slightest interest in me. I guess everyone has a Ryan at some point in her life. He’s the kind you go on a couple of dates with and then he decides you are soul mates – completely against your will.
I walked into my closet and sorted through hanger after hanger until I found the perfect shirt. It was almost like it called out to me. It was a combination of sapphire silk and cream lace, and I paired it with a pair of skinny jeans and cream wedges. I was really in a weird mood – I absolutely never wore heels to school. Stairs and heels don’t mix well, and I had to walk a flight of stairs several times a day. I pulled my bangs into a clip and applied my makeup in various shades of blue. I took a step back from the mirror and smiled. The effect was pretty good. I normally gravitate toward black since it goes with just about everything, but today the blue appealed to me. Leah, my best friend, would be thrilled. She was always on my case about adding more color to my wardrobe.
I grabbed my phone and my favorite Vera Bradley backpack and headed down the stairs. I walked into the kitchen and thumped my little brother on the back of the head while he sat at the island eating French toast sticks.
“Hey Brady, what’s up?” I asked as I passed.
“Ow! What was that for?” He rubbed the back of his head with one hand.
I reached over and gave him a squeeze. “Sorry Bud, I was just messing with you.”
He grinned at me. “S’ok,” he said around a mouthful of his breakfast.
Mom came into the kitchen and grabbed a travel mug off the counter before handing it over to me.
I savored the delicious aroma before taking a big swig. “Ahh. Thanks Mom.”
A good cup of coffee and a hot bubble bath could solve just about any problem I might come across.
Mom chuckled at me and shook her head. She understood my weaknesses and loved me anyway.
“All right you two get your stuff together and let’s hit the road,” Mom said waving us toward the back door.
A short time later we were pulling up to the back door of the cafeteria. Leah was waiting for me like every other day. Things at Marcus High School were like any average American high school. We had typical cliques, mediocre cafeteria food, and more than the occasional laugh thrown into the mix.
I stepped out of the car, hitched my backpack over my shoulder, and made my way to Leah’s side.
Her eyes widened as I got closer, “You know you look a lot like my best friend, just more colorful.”
“Har, Har… very funny,” I grimaced.
She gestured to my outfit. “So what gives today? Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love the color. I didn’t even know you owned anything this shade.”
I shrugged my shoulders, “I don’t know. I really felt like wearing it. Quite frankly, I’m not even sure how I found it since it was crammed in the back of the closet.” I pointed at her, “I could ask you the same thing. I’ve never seen you wear this color before.”
Leah was wearing a silky fitted t-shirt in a stunning shade of violet. It really complemented her coloring and looked good on her.
“I know right? It was the strangest thing. I had the most bizarre dreams. I mean it wasn’t just that I had weird dreams; it’s the fact that I can’t remember any specific details. I know there was a super-hot guy, but as soon as I woke up, I couldn’t even tell you the color of his hair.”
I grabbed her hand, “Ohmigod. I had the same thing. Every time I start to remember something, it disappears just as fast.”
Leah’s eyebrows drew together, “That is way too freaky.”
The bell rang signaling our first class, and we rushed to first period to avoid being late. I was still thinking about the irony of us both having mysterious dreams when I plopped into my chair in geometry.
“Well… well… well. So nice of you to finally join the ranks of the semi-decently dressed,” Tami said with narrowed eyes and her lips curled up in a sneer.
I felt everyone turn to face us to see what my reaction would be. The fuse on my temper burned hot and fast. I was momentarily distracted when the classroom lights flickered wildly. Narrowing my eyes at Tami, a wicked smile crept across my face. She had finally pushed me to the brink.
“I really pity you. You are so pathetic,” I said with a laugh.
A collective gasp went up around the room while Tami stared at me in disbelief.
“What did you just say?” she demanded.
I laid my pencil down on my desk. “Here, let me say it again, and I’ll say it slowly this time so even you can follow along.” Snickering came from somewhere behind me and I fought back a smile before continuing, “It’s pathetic you make snide comments and treat people like crap in order to make yourself feel good. It’s pretty freaking sad, if you ask me.”
Her face turned an unflattering blotchy red and then purple. “Exactly who do you think you are talking to? You are a nobody, and I am surrounded by tons of people. Now who is pathetic?” she waved her hand dismissively in my general direction.
I tilted my head and looked at her with my eyebrows drawn together. “You just don’t get it, do you? I surround myself with people I know I can trust and who love me for who I am. You, on the other hand, surround yourself with anyone who will tell you how good you look or agree with every word you say. My friends don’t talk about me behind my back – can you say the same?”
She looked at me with her mouth hanging open.
I smiled knowingly. “That’s what I thought. Now who is the pathetic one?” I shrugged my shoulders and turned around in my desk.
“Caiti,” a voice came from my left.
I turned and found myself face-to-face with Matt. I had known him since pre-school, and we always managed to have one or two classes together over the years. He was fairly quiet but had a great smile. Right now his smile was in danger of splitting his face in half. He gave me a high five, “Thank you. Nicely handled, Caitlin. It’s about time someone did that.”
I snickered, “Sorry, I just snapped. Normally it’s just not worth the grief she doles out later.”
He continued to grin “All I can say is ‘well done.’”
Tami persisted in grinding her teeth with her face remaining a mottled purple while Mr. Von started class. I simply didn’t care enough about her opinion to give her another thought. Frustration emanated from her for the duration of class and that made me smile – right up until the bell rang.
Tami grabbed her things and stormed out of class.
As usual Leah was waiting for me outside class while people filed out of geometry – some of them patting me on the back and congratulating me.
Leah’s eyebrows rose in confusion. “Did I miss something?” she asked.
“Nah, not really.”
“She’s being way too modest,” Matt said shaking his head.
Now he definitely had Leah’s full attention. Leah stomped her foot. “Ok, out with it, what happened?”
Matt leaned closer to Leah and proceeded to fill her in.
I searched up and down the hallway. What the hell was I doing? Who or what did I expect to see? It reminded me of one of those memory tests from elementary school. You had a certain amount of time to look at a photo and then it would be taken away, and you had to see what was missing in the new photo. It was incredibly frustrating. It must have something to do with the fact that I was unable to recall any details from that stupid dream.
“Caitlin,” Leah smacked me on the shoulder.
“You freak. Did you really say that to Tami?”
I looked at the ceiling and drew a line on the linoleum with the toe of my shoe, “Maybe.”
She burst out laughing. What has gotten into you today? First with the cute outfit and then you tear Tami a new one – what’s the story?”
I toyed with my necklace. “Let’s just say, I woke up this morning with a whole new perspective on life. Tami’s usual crap just seemed so juvenile and incredibly stupid today.”
Leah snorted. “Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond proud of you. She’s had that coming for years. I just never thought you would be the one to do it.”
I bowed at the waist. “Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.”
Leah and Matt dissolved into laughter and clung to each other for support.
I grabbed them both by the elbow. “Come on you freaks, before we’re late to second period.”
Matt shot us a grin over his shoulder and headed up the stairs to his next class.
Leah and I continued on to the commons. As we passed by, we noticed several people whispering. Those who weren’t whispering were boldly walking up and giving us a high-five.
“Who was that?” Leah asked after the last in a string of strange guys walked by.
I don’t mean they were strange, just that I didn’t know them.
“I have absolutely no idea.” I was suddenly struck with a vision of Leah and me on a beach somewhere tropical surrounded by hot guys. I shook my head to clear my thoughts. That was totally bizarre. I mean we had been to Maui the summer before, but I certainly know I would have remembered a crowd like that. I looked at Leah’s stunned expression. Oh yeah. If I hadn’t remembered, Leah definitely would have been all over that.
Leah’s eyebrows drew together creating wrinkles in her forehead. “This may sound really stupid, but I have the strangest sense of déjà vu, like this has all happened before,” she tilted her head to one side. “Do you know what I mean?”
“Totally. I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but all this attention is making me a little nervous. I can’t say that I really like it.”
Leah fidgeted with her hair and shuffled her feet while she scanned the hall nervously, like she expected someone to jump out at her. “I know what you mean. They are all behaving like paparazzi. Since when did we become so fascinating?” She giggled. “Maybe you should have done this years ago?”
I snorted, “Yeah ‘cause you know how much I love to be the center of attention. Ugh!”
She smacked me on one shoulder before heading off to chemistry. “Oh, Caiti, just go with it for once.”
Somehow I thought I had heard that somewhere before. I grunted and headed off to World Geography.

Guest blog by Author

I’ve spent the last several centuries training with the Turvata. My people, the Varyo, are known throughout all the lands as the fiercest warriors among the Ethereals. We train until all we know is duty; emotion is no longer a factor. We know what must be done and are able to remove all personal feelings from our job. As part of the Turvata, we are the ones called in to protect the most important individuals within the Ethereal races. When Ael’onwe, the mother of the Queen of the Feydall – a fairy-like race, requested Jace and I by name for an assignment we were honored. I had been groomed by Johr, the head of the Turvata, for over a century to be his eventual successor. Here was our chance to really show them we were worthy of the responsibility required with the job. When we were briefed by Ael’onwe on what she needed, we were shocked. They really wanted to assign the two highest-ranking Turvata to babysit a couple of spoiled Feydall teenagers – one a princess at that? What were we supposed to think about that? It almost felt like a slap in the face. After all we had done over the years, the injuries we had sustained, the blood we had shed – they wanted us to go undercover and attend high school to watch over a couple of teenagers?

Little did I know how much that one assignment would bring my entire existence into focus. Looking back, I think Ael’onwe knew exactly what she was doing. She wasn’t insulting us with the assignment – she was giving Jace and I the greatest gift and honor possible. From the moment I sat in that hard, plastic chair in Geometry class and first laid eyes on Caitlin, I was spellbound. She wasn’t the spoiled little princess I had expected. Unlike most women who possess great beauty, she was very grounded and intelligent. She was very generous and the people she cared about always came first. Now before you go thinking she’s some sort of paragon, you must understand that beneath that sweet exterior lies a truly heinous temper. As more details of our world unfolded, she accepted each and every one with a grace you would expect from someone centuries older. Like everyone else she has a breaking point, and believe me, you don’t want to be around when she reaches that point.

About the Author

Stephanie Amox attended the University of Texas at Arlington, where she met her husband. Her life did an about-face in January 2009 and the future of her career looked bleak. Her husband encouraged her to follow her dream and finally write the story which had been buzzing around in her head for a number of years, thus The Lumina Saga was born.

These days she spends her time in Flower Mound, Texas with her husband, two children and a couple of crazy Jack Russell Terriers. When she's not writing she enjoys spending time watching her son play hockey or visiting her daughter at Oklahoma State University.

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