Tuesday, December 2, 2014

[Release Day Book Blitz] Excerpt & Giveaway: Beautiful Curse by Jen McConnel


Beautiful Curse
Release Date: December 2014
Swoon Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Mya Jones is cursed.

She is, hands down, the most beautiful creature on earth. But beauty can wound, and Mya finds herself reviled and shunned by her peers. If there is even a chance that she could start over, Mya longs to take it, no matter the risks.

So when the strange Mr. Merk offers her a new life away from home, Mya is hesitant but hopeful. Only she didn't count on the mysterious Ross, or her feelings for him.

BEAUTIFUL CURSE is a contemporary retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid.

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I woke up with my face mashed into the padded backrest of my seat. Heart pounding, I kept my eyes closed for a minute. I was almost afraid to open them: I’d been woken up by the sound of breathing close to my face, and as I sat there in the seat, trying to decide what to do, I heard another sharp intake of breath and smelled—
Cinnamon? My eyes popped open and I realized I was still dreaming. Sitting next to me on the bus was the marble statue with the wings that had entranced me at the museum, but the face hovering dangerously close to mine looked soft, like skin. The boy’s beautiful eyes were rich with color, like the amber pendant Mom had bought for my last birthday, before the curse kicked in. His wings weren’t visible, but I would have recognized his face anywhere. The sculptor didn’t get it right: he’s much more beautiful in person.
His golden eyes flared in surprise. “You can see me?” he whispered.
I nodded, smiling. “Of course I can. You’re in my dream.”
“So beautiful,” he murmured, “in face and in soul”.
For the first time, the compliment didn’t bother me. More proof that I was dreaming. “So are you.”
Then the sculpture boy did something strange. He produced a golden arrow out of thin air. His eyes never left my face as he pressed the tip of the arrow against his bare chest.
Amazed and horrified, I watched as the arrow pierced his perfect skin. But instead of red blood, the beautiful boy bled golden light. He smiled at me, and his mouth moved as if he were speaking, but I couldn’t hear him anymore.
I woke up with the glare of golden light against my eyelids, disoriented. It took me a minute to realize that my face was pressed against the bus window and that outside, the sun was setting. Drowsily, I sat up and glanced around the bus.
A part of me half-expected the boy to be sitting beside me, but the seat was empty. Why did I have to wake up? Sighing, I took out my iPod and scanned through the music. I picked a romantic playlist I’d made last year, before I lost all hope of dating like a normal person. Settling back against the seat, I watched the sky outside the bus go from golden to lavender and finally to navy, listening to cheesy love songs.
I used to want to be married right after high school, just like my parents. It had always seemed hopelessly romantic that they had been sweethearts for four years before Dad finally proposed the night of their senior prom. They were married that July, and all the photos of the early years of their marriage looked blissful. Like most of their classmates, they had gone to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon, and they’d returned there five years later with me right after I was born. I didn’t remember the trip, but there was an album of faded photos; everyone looked so happy, even me with my chubby baby cheeks.
It had seemed like a fairy tale, and they probably would have been together forever if I hadn’t ruined it. I squeezed my eyes, trying to blot out those thoughts, but just then a hand plucked my right ear bud out of my ear. Startled, I looked over to find Ms. Amboulia sitting next to me.
“It’s not your fault that she left,” she began conversationally, as if she were talking about the field trip.
I paused the music. “Excuse me?”
“I know you think you drove her away, but believe me when I say you didn’t.” “It doesn’t matter what you think. I know what happened.”
Ms. Amboulia stared at me for a minute until I dropped my gaze, embarrassed. “Often times,” she said softly, “the saddest people reap the most reward in the end.”
She got up and moved down the bus aisle before I could speak. She didn’t say anything to me during the rest of the drive, and when the bus arrived back at school, Ms. Amboulia had already gotten in her battered blue Volvo and started the engine by the time I emerged from the bus. I watched her drive away, annoyed.
Just because Ms. Amboulia wasn’t as bad as some of the people at Jameson, that didn’t give her the right to act like she understood. Besides, I knew the truth; Mom was gone because of me. Why else hadn’t she tried to get in touch with me? 

About the Author
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).
She is also a former reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and proud member of SCBWINCWN, and SCWW.

A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she also holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga.

Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.
Author Links:
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