On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each participating YA author, you also get a secret number. Add up the numbers, and enter it for a chance to win a major prize–one lucky winner will receive at least one signed book from each author on my team in the hunt! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon PST on Sunday, October 5th!
Looking for my exclusive bonus content??? Somewhere on this blog hop, I’ve hidden an exclusive video of Captain Jack Sparrow reading my author bio. You are NOT going to want to miss that.. You’ll have to follow the links at the end of each Scavenger Hunt Post. .
Before you go on though, check out the amazing author I’m hosting. But, first, a few rules.
Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, I’ll introduce the author I am hosting on this hunt.
and Gavin can’t wait around for her memories to return. They’ll have to journey across the Outlands of the Surface to find help, and in the end, their search may just lead them back to the place it all started.
Doesn’t that sound amazing? You have to put this book on your to-read list now! For more information about this book or to check out Patty’s other books, check out her website.
Patty has an amazing book trailer on her website. I think I watched it 4 times in a row.
Now for the top-secret deleted scene.
Mr. Russell skids to a stop in front of the emergency room. We abandon the car, race inside and find Ian in a trauma room, blood flowing from his face and head, bruises darkening his skin. A whole team of people in scrubs surround him, poking, pressing, stabbing.
There’s a thick collar around his neck, an IV line in his arm. They’d cut off most of his clothes. One doctor presses at the huge bruise on his chest and Ian doesn’t twitch. Another doctor drags an instrument over the bottom of his foot.
This is all my fault. I press my hands to my mouth, hold back the sob.
“How is he? Oh, God, please tell me, how is he?” Mr. Russell grabs one of the doctors shining a light into Ian’s eyes but a nurse forces us back outside, insisting a doctor will be out to talk to us in a minute.
We collapse into chairs and I bury my face in my hands. Beside me, Mr. Russell shakes, like he’s trying hard not to cry. It takes ages, but finally, the door opens and someone comes out.
“Mr. Russell? I’m Doctor Reid.”
I lift my head. Mr. Russell jumps to his feet, his face gray. “How’s my boy?”
“He was lucky. There’s definitely another concussion, but no skull fracture, which is something of a miracle. His ribs are bruised but don’t appear to be broken. We’ll take some x-rays to be sure and do an MRI, check his organs for internal damage.”
Mr. Russell slumps back to his seat and Dr. Reid sits next to him. Her scrubs are bloody and I try not to stare at the splotches and just focus on her face. She’s so young. She doesn’t look that much older than me.
“He’s not out of the woods, though. The multiple concussions he’s sustained over such a short period of time will no doubt leave some mild cognitive impairment.”
Mr. Russell makes a choking sound but Dr. Reid waves a hand and keeps talking.
“I’ve contacted his neurologist; he’ll be here soon to consult, but sports are definitely out.” She flips through notes on a clipboard.
Mr. Russell nods but his face is still gray.
“He has numerous abrasions on his hands, bruising on his legs.” Dr. Reid shakes her head. “But I’m not worried about those. Any questions, have me paged. You can see him as soon as we get him settled.” With a nod, Dr. Reid blends into the sea of white coats and green scrubs.
Mr. Russell sags in his chair and I put a hand on his arm. “You need to call home.”
“Home? Oh, God. You’re right.” And then he bursts into tears. I hug Ian’s dad and apologize over and over for causing all this trouble. “No, Grace. No. None of this was your fault.”
But it was. I should have listened to my mother and fled to Europe, changed my name. But I didn’t. I stayed and I fought and now, Ian’s life is completely ruined.
The hours crawl by.
My parents arrive soon after Ian’s whole family. Coach Brill and Mr. Jordan are here. A hand squeezes my shoulder and when I look up, I’m dumbfounded to find Khatiri standing in front of me with a woman I can only guess is her mother. We fill every ugly plastic chair in the waiting room, my knee bopping around like it’s battery operated until my mom covers it softly with her hand. I lean into her and try not to cry.
Sometime later, a pair of detectives arrive. I remember them too well. “Miss Collier, I’m Detective Buckley,” one says.
“Yeah. I remember.” I cross my arms and scowl. I remember the insulting questions, the pointed looks at my clothes, the shrugs whenever I asked when they would arrest Zac.
Across the room, my dad — minus his Kristie appendage — shifts uncomfortably in his chair. Beside me, Ian’s dad stands up and glares at the two detectives. “You two are the reason my son is in this hospital?”
Detective Buckley winces and puts up his hands. “I understand your hostility. You have to understand rape is a difficult crime to prove. But we wanted to tell you that Zac McMahon will be charged. He’s going to jail this time, Miss Collier.”
All I can do is nod. I’m happy with this news, of course. I just wish they’d done more when I was the victim, instead of Ian. The detectives walk to the desk, ask to speak to Ian’s doctor. One by one, people say their goodbyes and head back to their homes. Dad tries to give me a hug but I stand stiff in his arms.
“Just go, Dad.”
I turn back to Mom and she holds out her hand but I shake my head. “I’m not leaving him.”
“Grace, they won’t let you stay. You’re not family.”
Mr. Russell’s hand falls to my shoulder. “She can stay as long as she wants. I’ll see to it.”
Mom nods, squeezes Mr. Russell’s hand.
Ian’s sisters return home on their parents’ orders. Dr. Reid finally returns, murmuring something about test results and Ian’s room. We follow her to the elevator and down a corridor where all the rooms contain people plugged into machines. It’s hard to look, hard to breathe when we find Ian, hooked to the same machines, his face almost as white as the sheets covering him.
There’s one chair in Ian’s room. His mom sits down, picks her way slowly around the Rosary beads clutched in her hand. Mr. Russell finds one more chair, plunks it down on the other side of Ian’s bed with a squeal of metal on linoleum.
We rotate through this chair.
The hours pass with nothing but the steady zigzag of Ian’s heart rate monitor to keep us company, the periodic appearance of Dr. Reid or Terry, his nurse. They say his vitals are good. Strong. But he won’t wake up and every time I ask why, nobody has an answer for me.
Early the next morning, when the sun starts to rise, his parents go off in search of coffee. It’s my turn in the chair and I sit, hunched over Ian’s bed, clutching his hand. His knuckles are scraped raw. “Come on, Ian. Wake up.” My voice tastes like sand and sounds even worse. His hand twitches in mine. “Ian? Ian, wake up!” He blinks a few times and then grins weakly at me, and I see that one tooth that’s just a little darker than all the others and think it’s the most beautiful smile ever grinned.
“Hey, bright eyes.” He blinks some more and finally gets that he’s in a hospital. He tries to sit up a little, winces, touches his head. “Fuck, another concussion?”
“Yeah. And some stitches.” I watch him for the rage I’m sure he’ll feel when it sinks in that he can’t play sports again — not if he wants to live. But it never forms.
He nods once, sighing.
“How do you feel?”
I pull out my phone, text his dad.
I nod. “Getting coffee. I told them to bring you back something. Everybody’s been here all night. Your sisters left a few hours ago to grab showers and some clothes for you.” He glances down, notices the hospital gown and blushes a little, which is good because he’s really pale. It makes me smile. “Coach Brill and Mr. Jordan were here, too. And even Khatiri.”
“Sound shocked.” His voice sounds even scratchier than mine.
I meet his eyes and after a minute, nod once. “I guess I am. I can’t believe I made a friend.”
Wincing, he shifts higher in his bed and traces the studs on my cuff. “You made more than that.”
I blink down at him, not sure what he’s saying — not sure if he knows what he’s saying.
With a wide, crooked smile, he whispers, “Love you.”
Okay, now I’m positive he has no idea what he’s saying. I glance at the IV bag over his bed and wonder what the hell they put in there.
His face falls. “Don’t believe me?”
Oh, God, I hurt his feelings. “I want to believe you, but you’re concussed, you’re on who knows what drugs, and you’re probably a little brain damaged, so–” I trail off with a sigh. God in heaven, I want it to be true with a wish — a need so potent, it brings those stupid tears to sting the back of my eyes and this time, I’m ready to just let them flow because damn it, this is Ian, this is the boy I love back and —
I narrow my eyes, not sure I heard him right. “I’m what?”
His grin turns sly. “You’re my girl, my woman, my main—”
I open my mouth to argue but then, all the sly drips out of his grin.
“Grace, the truth is, I’m yours.”
I freeze while that sinks in and then I’m crying. He wipes my eyes with the sheet on his bed and holds it up for my inspection. “Look, no Gothic black this time.”
“Yeah,” I sniffle. “Cried it all off.”
His smile grows bigger.
“You cried for me. Admit it, bright eyes. You love me. You got it bad for me.”
I roll my eyes, laughing and crying. “I do. I really do.”
Ian’s parents rush in, bearing a muffin and a carton of juice. “How do you feel, Ian?” Mr. Russell asks.
His dad’s relieved grin is hard to resist and now, we’re all smiling and sniffling back tears.
“Well, eat. Dr. Reid said it’s fine.” Mrs. Russell punches a straw through the carton of juice and holds it to Ian’s mouth, but Ian waves her off. He can hold the carton by himself. He eats the muffin slowly, drains the juice, his eyes low.
Mr. Russell exchanges a glance with his wife. “Son, you scared the hell out of us.”
Ian’s lips flatten into a tight line. A moment later, he nods, but still won’t look up. “Sorry.”
Mr. Russell opens his mouth, but Mrs. Russell squeezes his hand and jerks her head at the door. He gives her a look that plainly demands to know if she’s out of her mind. After a moment, he nods and heads for the door. “We’ll give you two some time alone.”
Ian’s eyes snap up at that and the moment the door closes after them, he laughs and immediately goes still, all the color draining from his face.
After a moment, he slowly lets out a breath. “Okay. I’m okay. Laughing. Bad idea. Really bad.” He presses a hand to his chest where the huge bruise is while I stand there like a moron. Do I call his parents back? Fetch a nurse? Oh, God.
“I’m okay, Grace. Sit down.” He pats the bed next to him and my jaw drops.
“Are you out of your mind?” And I roll my eyes. Of course he is. Stupid question.
“Just for a minute.” He tugs on my hand.
Reluctantly, I sit next to him but he doesn’t let go of my hand.
“I’m really sorry.”
“For what?” I’d already forgiven him for that stupid stunt in the cafeteria the other day.
He sinks a little lower in the bed. “For not having the guts to ask you out when I had the chance. Everything that happened to you is my fault.”
I think about that for a minute. From what I know about the stupid code guys have, maybe it’s true Zac never would have asked me out if I’d been with Ian. And Miranda wouldn’t have turned on me because Zac would have been free to notice her. And Lindsay wouldn’t have sided with Miranda. My mom’s car wouldn’t have been trashed. Damn it, if he’d asked me out months ago, I could have kept my life and —
Jesus. I stop the thought spiral when it hits me that I’m doing exactly what everyone else did — blaming the wrong person.
Slowly, I shake my head. “The only person to blame for my rape is Zac. Not me and definitely not you.”
“But if I—”
“No, Ian. Just him.”