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?
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I’ve got no armor against her, nothing to dull her touch. I can feel the heat rising off her skin and the soft stream of her breath against my collarbone, and she’s not even close enough to hold me yet. Those blue eyes look into mine again. “I’m not going to trap you, okay? You can tell me to stop or to back off anytime.”
“Can I touch you?”
I hesitate, then nod again and brace myself as she steps closer and places her hand on the side of my neck, her thumb tracing my jawbone. It’s hard to breathe, for fear any motion will cast her loose from me.
Those blue eyes look me over, then return my gaze. “Can I hold you?”
I shut my eyes. “Yes.”
She moves in closer and our bodies touch. Her cheek rests against my clavicle as she fits her body to mine.
I feel her warm breath on the side of my neck and tremble, unable to hold still. My hand shoots out to grasp the IV stand for balance. After a panicked moment, I give in and reach up to stroke her silken hair with the backs of my fingers.
She presses the palm of her hand to my waist, then slips it behind the small of my back. Her other hand she slides up my back to grasp my shoulder, and now she’s holding me like she always used to, right from when we first got together.
There’s no way I can resist this. I slide my hands up her arms and watch her eyelids flutter shut for a moment while I wrap her in my embrace. She lifts her chin and I lean my forehead against hers. Just like before, I feel like I’m being offered something far more precious than I deserve. I don’t understand why she smiles when I stroke her hair and look into those eyes, but she does. She has so many other options. So many other guys would require less sacrifice than I do. I cup her jaw in the palm of my hand and gaze at her, willing her to know how beautiful she is, how she could have anyone she wants.
“Can I kiss you?” she whispers, shakily.
“Only if you want to.”
She leans in and presses her lips to the side of my throat.
I let out a strangled gasp as she kisses her way down to the notch between my collarbones. Delicate strands of her hair slide between my fingers as I stroke the length of her long locks and tears burn my eyes. She feels more amazing than ever.
Her breath tickles my skin, “This okay?”
“Howabout this?” She runs the tip of her tongue along the base of my neck creating an explosion of sensation.
“Ah, hey.” I cling to her to keep my balance. That is not a move I ever used on her. My knees are weak and my vision’s graying out.
She giggles. “Too much?”
Emotion builds in my chest like a thundercloud. “No,” I whisper.
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About EM Tippetts
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.