Releases: March 27, 2012
Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre…
Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own…
First, I want to wish Rebecca a very happy birthday! When she asked me if I’d like to participate in her bookish birthday celebration, I said I’d be honored and then scrambled to figure out what to send her. To be perfectly honest, I’m tired of writing blog posts and while I’ve done several interviews, I’m just not all that interesting. Since this event is, in part, to celebrate Rebecca’s birthday, I thought I’d share a scene from A Breath of Eyre that takes place on my main character’s birthday. Her 16th birthday. Yes, that’s right, her Sweet Sixteen. Girls dream about this day, somehow imagining that it will transform their ordinary life into something magical and special. Not so for poor Emma.
Not only is the day a scorching ninety degrees with the air conditioner on the fritz, but the party is sadly lacking in anything that might show up on a teenager’s birthday wishlist. The only thing it does have is a particular guy, a guy Emma’s known for most of her life but who’s suddenly gotten a whole lot hotter. But as you’ll see, he’s not exactly whisking Emma away for a motorcycle ride under the stars.
Excerpt from A Breath of Eyre:
When I got back downstairs, I saw that Aunt Trish, my cousins, and Grandma Mackie had all arrived together. Next came the neighbors, Bill and Rita, followed by Cassie, a woman I’d made friends with at the real estate office this summer. And yep, that was it. Saddest sweet sixteen party in history.
I went around saying hellos and collecting presents and cards, beginning to hold out hope that the Newmans weren’t going to make it. But around 12:30, their oatmeal-colored Subaru pulled up in front of our house, and my stomach fell. I watched Gray get out of the car, pick up his little sister Anna, and give her a piggyback ride to the door. Mr. Newman came in carrying an organically grown zucchini the size of a small infant, and Simona held out my present, which appeared to be wrapped in tree bark. They both hugged me, Simona clutching me for so long it was uncomfortable.
“Happy Birthday, Emma,” she said, tears welling up in her eyes. “You look more like Laura every day.” I never knew what to say to this.
Gray squatted down so Anna could dismount then gave me a slow uncomfortable perusal, glancing briefly down at my chest, I suppose to see if anything interesting was happening there. It wasn’t. Despite nightly pleas to a God I only half-believed in, I remained a disappointing five foot three with barely any curves. Gray was even taller than the last time I’d seen him, and he’d definitely filled out. With his close-cropped hair and slightly broken-looking nose, he looked hard and proud, but also sort of haunted—like a medieval saint trapped in the body of a Marine.
Anna ran into me, hugging my legs so I was staring down at her long red hair. “Hey, beautiful!” I said. “You’re getting so big.”
“I just turned seven,” she said.
“And I just turned sixteen.”
“I know,” she said. “Gray told me, like, a million times.”
“So give Emma her present,” Gray reminded her.
His voice was deeper than I remembered. A few years at a private school had chipped away at his Boston accent, but a hint of it remained. I found it irritatingly sexy.
Anna handed me a small package and demanded that I open it immediately. “Okay, okay,” I said, laughing and making a small tear in one corner. When I pulled off the last of the wrapping paper, I was holding a turquoise leather journal inscribed with my initials. “Wow,” I said.
“Do you like it?”
“I love it!”
She broke into an embarrassed smile, and then, mission accomplished, went running off to see if there was anyone to play with. I must have looked a little stunned because Gray felt it necessary to add, “Before you go getting all touched, it was my mom’s idea. She remembered you used to write.”
“Oh,” I said, wanting to slam him into something sharp and hard.
And there you have it. A little taste of Emma’s not-so-sweet sixteen. Thanks so much for having me, Rebecca, and I truly hope your birthday is sweet, magical, and everything you dreamed it would be. Happy Birthday!!!