Today we're spotlighting Lauren Horowitz's novel, Renegade Red! Read on for more about Lauren and her novel, plus a chapter reveal, and giveaway!
Meet Lauren Horowitz!
Lauren Bird Horowitz, screenwriter and novelist, has won an enthusiastic following for her innovative, lyrical poetic voice. Her debut novel Shattered Blue: Book One of The Light Trilogy, won the 2016 Independent Publishers' (IPPY) Silver Medal for Young Adult Fiction, as well as Finalist honors in the 2016 USA Book Awards for Best New Fiction and Best New Fantasy, the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Best Young Adult Fiction, and the 2016 International Book Award for Best Fantasy. It was also listed as one of USA Today's top romances of 2015, and selected as a notable book by Buzzfeed, Popsugar, Hypable, San Francisco Book Review, Glitter, The Culturalist, Teen Reads, Maria Shriver.com, Bustle and others.
Bird studied writing at Harvard University with novelist Jamaica Kincaid, winning several prizes including the Edward Eager Memorial Prize for fiction and Winthrop-Sargent Prize for writing. She’s a proud member of the Writers Guild of America.
Reckless, desperate, and distraught, Noa Sullivan leaps into a collapsing Portal in the explosive finale of Shattered Blue --the jaw-dropping, award-winning first installment in The Light Trilogy --in wild hope of rescuing her little sister Sasha. Now Noa and the Fae brothers who love her--Callum and Judah Forsythe--must find a way to survive not only across worlds but between them, in places so treacherous and deceptive their own minds are twisted against them. As the three fight to survive their passage, they battle not only enemies but themselves, and their darkest, most difficult secrets.
Surviving, however, is only the beginning: Noa needs to find Sasha. That means becoming a warrior herself, one just as fierce as the magical brothers battling for her love. Across broken cities, underground labyrinths, rushing floods and endless skies; in the face of legions of armies, horrifying tyrants, and the most deceitful of friends, can Mortal Noa rescue her sister--and understand her own heart--in time to escape the most deadly of magic realms?
WHEN JUDAH FINALLY stopped struggling, when they were beaten, bloody brother-mirrors, Callum let him rise. The darker, slighter boy levered himself up against the bars. This cell had somehow caged it all: Callum’s lies, Judah’s anger, and guilt enough for Lily’s loss to drown them both. Judah bled from a gash above his eye; Callum wiped a smear from his broken nose.
“You’ll be the first Banished there, since Kells,” Judah said. Callum smiled a little. “Always first.”
“You stay,” Callum warned him again. “For Lorelei.”
Judah’s jaw clenched, but he didn’t argue. When he spoke, his
voice trembled, like it had when they were young: “Do you go right through, or...” He turned, afraid.
“The Gatekeeper’s supposed to make sure I don’t get caught between.”
“But what’s it like? The In Between?”
Callum stayed tall, and still. “Lorelei once said it’s the place where you find out.”
Callum met his little brother’s eyes. “What you truly want. What you’ll truly give. And if, in the end, it’s enough to save your life.”
PART I: HARLOW
“YOUR SISTER IS DEAD.”
Hard and sharp, discrete and precise: Noa Sullivan blinked painfully as she wakened to the grim words. She struggled through tangled blankets, squinted into the gray morning light. A black shape loomed ominously.
“Did you hear me? Isla is dead meat if she doesn’t get her ass to class on time. Three tardies she might get sent for Review. ”
Noa rubbed an open palm over her left eye. The hovering shape sharpened into her best friend, Olivia Lee, its looming teeth merely the pink-hued points of Olivia’s trademark half- buzzed hair. Olivia was wearing her Harlow uniform properly enough—pants ironed and pleated, blouse buttoned three buttons high—but no amount of regulation could tame her rebellious punk-chick eyes, rolling sardonically on top. And of course, her perfectly pressed short blouse sleeves only better showcased the concentric-circle tattoos spiraling down her arms.
But to Noa, no one was less intimidating. 1
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Noa groaned and pulled her pillow over her head, muffling her voice. “Isla’s not back again?”
Olivia laughed. “You two really were born in the wrong order. She should be the baby of the family, not you. The wild-child gene must’ve gotten confused.”
“Tell me about it. She’d better not abandon me this weekend—” Noa broke off, too late, as Olivia snatched her pillow away.
“Up and at ’em, Noser! I sure as hell don’t want a tardy too.
Review is the only experience I am not willing to try once.”
Noa sat up grudgingly, wincing. She didn’t know why, but the last few weeks she hadn’t been feeling rested. It was as if her body never recharged—probably because of the thinner-by- the-year boarding school mattress. Harlow, her Monterey prep school, prided itself on being just as rigorous and elite as the East Coast name-brand schools like Exeter and Andover, but creature comforts were lacking.
Noa stretched, trying to convince her aching back to forget its troubles, and her tablet screensaver flashed a picture of her with her sister Isla, the one who was evidently still out partying and apparently never needed sleep. Isla was two years older, but she and Noa had almost identical features and were often mistaken for twins.
This was something Noa never understood: Isla was regal, with imperial silver eyes and iridescent blond hair. On Noa, those same eyes were drab and gray, that same hair a mish-mash tangle, of dirty blond. In pictures like this one, where she and Isla stood side by side, Noa thought they barely looked related, let alone identical.
Noa frowned at the photo taken this past winter break. Isla was grinning, arm slung over Noa’s uncertain, anxious shoulders; they stood in front of an abandoned cabin they’d secretly explored in some woods in Maine. It was supposed to be haunted but had really just been derelict, and they’d been lucky the whole floor hadn’t just caved in under them. Noa hadn’t wanted to go, but Isla had made it a test. Her little sister, she said, couldn’t live her whole life as a coward.
Noa had never been good at telling Isla no.
“Have you checked yet?” Noa asked Olivia, looking away from the picture. There were other, more pressing things to worry about today.
For once, Olivia sounded nervous. “Not yet I waited for you.”
“Well ... I guess we should look,” Noa said uneasily. “Since we’re both up.”
“Yeah, so let’s look.” Neither of them moved.
“This is so silly,” Noa said. “I mean, who even cares?”
Olivia raised a pierced eyebrow. “You’re right. The Beautiful
Little Fools are only the most exclusive and powerful female secret society at Harlow, and we’re only about to see if we got the nod into the world of social stardom beyond our wildest dreams—or if we’ve been denied, chucked aside, fated to be nobodies for the rest of our boarding-school lives. No big deal.”
Noa frowned. “Okay, fine. It’s a big deal.”
“At least you’re a legacy.”
“Just because Isla’s in the Little Fools doesn’t mean I got
tapped. In fact, knowing her, it probably means I didn’t.” “She is willing to be your roommate,” Olivia pointed out.
LAUREN BIRD HOROWITZ
“Rooming with me to appease Mom and Dad is one thing. She knows I can’t stop her from doing anything, no matter what they hope. I’m just her lame baby sister.”
Olivia nodded seriously. “Now that I think of it, I hope your rep doesn’t rub off on me. Isla knows I’m a rebel, right? I mean, check the hair. And the skin art? Seriously.”
Noa grinned, used to Olivia’s deadpan brand of teasing. “It’s not exactly rebellious if your parents support your choices, O. Your mom took you to get those circle tattoos.”
“I know. ” Olivia sighed dramatically, lifting her tatted arms. “I can do no wrong. How infuriating.”
“High-class problems, O.” Noa ran a hand over her chest, where the long diagonal scar sliced down beneath her collarbone. “I wish my parents would let me turn this thing into a tattoo or something.” For some reason, Noa had been obsessing about her mysterious scar a lot lately. She knew she’d had it forever—her parents, Isla, had grown tired of assuring her she’d probably been born with it—but she couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something else about it, a memory or a dream that sublimated the moment she tried to grasp it.
Olivia laughed. “Somehow I don’t see Hannah and Christopher Sullivan going for a tattoo. But I think you should leave it anyway. Nothing like a huge scar to fierce up your image.”
Noa looked skeptical. “Even when no one remembers how you got it?”
“Especially then! You could be a sleeper bad-ass spy vixen! Code name: Girl Beast.”
Noa got to her feet. “Well, if that’s the case, I can’t be afraid to open the door. So come on. We’ll open it together, and either
4 RENEGADE RED
we see signets or we don’t.”
Olivia squinted shrewdly. “You know, these girls are pretty
arrogant, just doling out rings without even waiting to hear if the person accepts.”
“Have you ever heard of a tap from the Beautiful Little Fools being refused?”
They walked to the front door. “Okay, O, on three. One, two...”
“I HAVE BROUGHT shame to the Sullivan name,” Noa moped, as she and Olivia walked to Dr Chandler’s classroom, signet-less.
“Only half the name,” Olivia pointed out. “Isla’s still a Fool, so fifty percent of Sullivan is still respectable.”
“You didn’t get tapped either!” Noa reminded her with a
laugh. She was disappointed, but she wasn’t as overwhelmingly upset as she’d thought she’d be. Maybe because, deep down, she knew she was no Isla. The wildness, the adventuring, that was Isla’s turf; Noa lived in a quieter realm. Not that it wouldn’t have been cool to get to feel like Isla, even if just for a little while. Olivia was at full snark, but Noa knew, without question, that Olivia would have joined only if they’d both been tapped anyway. Fiercely loyal like Isla, she was not afraid to make history and turn down even the most elite Harlites imaginable.
Annabelle Leighton, another classmate, walked up to join them in the imposing hallway. When she’d been a freshman, Harlow’s stone- walled corridors had seemed in infinitely daunting to Noa, with their soaring ceilings and echoing marble. Now she hardly noticed them. The same could not be said, however, for
LAUREN BIRD HOROWITZ
the howling wildness around the school, visible through massive windows and glass-paned double doors. Inside, Harlow was strict and sharp, but outside, the creeping Salinas wilderness ruled, as if the school itself were caught in the claw of a mythical beast, soaring through some wild, wailing unknown.
Annabelle was wearing the skirt version of the Harlow uni, which clashed angrily with her freckled, flaming red cheeks. Her cross-ties looked agonized, as if she had tortured the knot into submission.
Olivia hid a laugh. “No signet for you either, huh?”
“Technically I can say nothing, of course, giving respect to the secrecy of the process,” Annabelle seethed, “but let’s just say I won’t be letting any known Little Fool rent out my room anytime soon.” Noa raised her eyebrows. If Annabelle meant it, it wasn’t an idle threat: Annabelle made a boarding-school fortune renting out her dorm room for ... illicit ... activities and selling forbidden contraband. For this alone, Noa had been sure Annabelle would be tapped; you couldn’t get more indispensible when it came to debauchery.
“What’s the status on everyone else? What do we know?” Annabelle scowled. “Well, no one’s talking, of course. You
know, just in case the snobs change their mind—” “But...,” Noa prodded.
“It’s what you’d expect. Carly Ann, Ansley, Leticia, Mary Jane are all in,” Annabelle said, listing Harlow’s most popular juniors. Noa looked down the hall, where pretty Carly Ann was beaming with pride, watched by a gaggle of impressed under-classmen. Noa wasn’t surprised: Carly Ann was the most beloved and outgoing girl Noa knew. She even dimmed Isla. Her coterie
of girl-cadets—Ansley, Leticia, Mary Jane—looked like dim impressionist paintings when they stood next to her exquisite, elaborate beauty.
Noa, Olivia, and Annabelle couldn’t help but be mesmerized as Carly Ann strode victoriously past the row of lonely lockers lining one wall—so-called “commuter lockers,” for those rare students who attended Harlow but didn’t board on campus. Noa felt a little shiver creep down her spine as her eyes fell on them. Strange, since she’d never even met a commuter, half-believed they were a myth.
Noa turned back to Annabelle and Olivia, who was scowling. “Where are Ansley, Leticia, and MJ? Shouldn’t they be making their victory lap, too?”
Annabelle shrugged. “Probably out celebrating.”
Noa’s eyes lingered on those creepy commuter lockers. She had that feeling again, that feeling of something sublimating out of her grasp—
“Yo! Noa!” Annabelle snapped her fingers an inch from Noa’s eye. “You should be most pissed of all, a legacy and everything!”
Noa tried to look more disappointed.
Olivia laughed. “Pitiful. But I guess we forgive you. People lose
all sense of priorities when they’re in lurrrrrve... ”
Noa blushed furiously, tried to fight the immediate grin. It was true: it was hard for her to feel too depressed about not making Isla’s girl squad, not when she had ... him. The boy who had transferred in ... and changed everything.
Annabelle threw up her hands at Noa’s sappy look “ That’s what I need to make me feel better! A transfer student—”
“Correction: a super-hot transfer student,” Olivia interrupted. 7
LAUREN BIRD HOROWITZ
“Right, a super-hot transfer student to come in, sweep me o my feet, and be my boyfriend-in-shining-armor en I won’t care about the Pitiful Little Fools either!”
Noa let her smile shine. It was true. Not even Isla had a boyfriend like him. She looked down the hall, almost as if she could feel him approaching, as if she could sense him, as if she carried a piece of his soul in her heart. She saw him in her mind before he even turned the corner: that coronet of curls, those dark, gorgeous eyes...
“My, my, Judah Smith, showing your face in the halls?” Noa teased, as she half-walked, half-pranced up to her boy. She wanted to run but knew better than to y so publicly to him. Judah was like an unbroken colt; he spooked easily.
One side of Judah’s mouth quirked up, the way Noa loved. “You’re doing terrible things for my rep,” he agreed. “People might start thinking I’m actually studious. It’s positively shameful. ” He whispered the last word in her ear, leaning in close, his warm breath brushing her hair from her shoulder. A tingle raced down Noa’s neck. His hand slipped smoothly into hers, like a secret, and she sneaked a tiny glance back at Olivia and Annabelle. Olivia wiggled her brows, amused; Annabelle tried to cover her envious expression.
Judah followed Noa’s gaze and chuckled softly. “Your friends need better poker faces. I can practically read their minds.”
Noa smiled. “You wish Besides, they know better than to play cards with the likes of you.”
“What? I am a paragon of virtue!” Judah pulled Noa close and pinned her back against the wall. His face hovered a centimeter
from hers, eyes glinting. “Who else could be this close to you...,” he whispered, his lips closing in...
And then pulled back, smirking. “Only an angel could resist.”
Noa’s blood raced, but she managed a mischievous smile. “Dark magic,” she agreed. He looked smug, leaned in to collect his kiss—but this time she pulled away. “A magic I share,” she teased, as he growled a little.
“Noa! Cut the PDA and move your a-s-s!” Olivia called from down the hall, interrupting their game. Noa looked at her watch and jumped. “I have Chandler. You better move to get to—”
“Yeah, not going.” Judah’s hand held her fast He lifted a brow. “How about you not-go with me?”
Noa bit her lip. Before she’d met Judah, she would never even have considered cutting History. It was such an Isla thing to do. But Judah somehow brought that out in her.
“I wish I could...,” she began Judah scowled, not even really listening as she finished: “But with Parents’ Weekend tomorrow, I can’t risk probation. Isla was totally MIA this morning. I can’t let my parents come and have both their daughters be disciplinary no-shows.”
“You are always covering for Isla!”
“You don’t have siblings. You don’t understand,” Noa flared,
immediately wishing she hadn’t.
Judah darkened and dropped her hand. “It’s not my fault I don’t have a family.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean...” She reached out to touch his arm, but his body caved inward, away from her. Noa knew how sensitive he was about being a foster kid, especially since nothing was known about his birth family. Smith wasn’t even his real last name.
LAUREN BIRD HOROWITZ
“You’d better go, or you’ll be late anyway,” Judah mumbled, turning away. Noa didn’t try to stop him; she knew better. But surprisingly, he didn’t immediately stalk off. He lingered, scowling hard.
“I also ... I mean ... I wanted...” He fumbled, pulled at his hair with annoyance when the words didn’t come easily. Finally he looked up, somewhere between fury and accusation. “Olivia told me there’s some stupid Alumni Ball coming up and said I should ask you.” He looked so angry, Noa had to press her lips together to keep from laughing.
Judah was watching her closely, as if trying and failing to read her mind. Finally he burst: “So ... we should go?”
Noa laughed happily, leaned forward and kissed him. “You’ll look great in white tails.” Judah scowled again, but Noa saw the happy smile dancing in his eyes. She kissed him again, spun on her heel, and danced to Dr. Chandler’s room, not worried at all this time if he saw it.
By: Lauren Horowitz
Release Date: March 14, 2017
One winner will receive a copy of book one and two (US only).
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