Today we're excited to spotlight But Not Forever by Jan Von Schleh! Read on for more about Jan and her book, plus an excerpt & giveaway!
Meet Jan Von Schleh!
Jan Von Schleh is a third-generation Seattleite who has lived and worked around the world in fascinating places including Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, Democratic Republic of Congo, Turkmenistan, and the Kingdom of Bahrain. When she’s not writing, she likes to explore ancient buildings
wherever she can find them and wonder about the stories they would tell―if only they could talk. She is sure that whatever those stories are, they most probably have to do with love.
Could she be everything you aren't, but somehow―still be you? It’s the year 2015 and Sonnet McKay is the daughter of a globe-trotting diplomat, home for the summer from her exotic life. Everything would be perfect if not for her stunning sister, whose bright star has left her in the shadows. In 1895, Emma Sweetwine is trapped in a Victorian mansion, dreaming of wings to fly her far from her mother, who gives her love to her sons, leaving nothing for her daughter. Fate puts them in the same house at the same moment, 120 years apart, and the identical fifteen-year-olds are switched in time. In their new worlds, Sonnet falls in love with a boy, Emma falls in love with a life, and astonishing family secrets are revealed. Torn, both girls want to still go home― but can either one give up what they now have? But Not
Forever is an enchanting story of love and longing, and the heart's ultimate quest to find where it belongs.
Emma saw Rapp, finally, his face illuminated clearly for the first time by the dim light of her bedroom window. Her heart lurched to a stop. On top of everything else, now this? She held herself and swayed, willing herself not to faint, and wondered what was in the canvas bag that crossed over his body. Hammers? Lord, help her—his eyes . . .
“This is our reality. We just have to deal with it.” Evan held out a small, slender box, a white arc of light casting a lit path onto his face and into the gloomy room. “And we have to find our way back to the picnic before they come looking for us. It’s almost one, and they’ll kill us if we’re late.” He dropped the object back into his pocket.
Kill us? Emma tore her eyes from Rapp and fixed on Evan and the light shining through his pants. At any moment, a fire would surely engulf this person who spoke of attending a picnic with potential murderers as calmly as if he were discussing a game of poker with friends.
She was going insane.
“So . . . Emma,” Evan said. “You’ll have to come with us and be Sonnet until we can figure this thing out.”
Jules gasped. “Seriously? We’re going to pass her off as Sonnet?”
“What else can we do? Look at her. She’s helpless. She doesn’t even have clothes. And anyway, how will we explain losing Sonnet? Think about it, Jules.”
“Absolutely not,” Emma said, holding on to the last of her dignity. “I will not be passed off as someone named Sonnet. I know nothing of you people.”
“Evan’s right, Emma. You can’t stay in this empty house. We’ll take care of you. We’re all you’ve got now.” Lia held her arm and gestured at the boy who had, thus far, not caught on fire. “Look. That’s Evan McKay, Sonnet’s twin brother. Jules McKay is Sonnet’s older sister. Niki Macadangdang is Sonnet’s cousin and my sister. I’m Lia Macadangdang,
Sonnet’s cousin and best bud. Rapp Loken there—he’s our friend. Now you know everyone. We’re not strangers.”
“Your family name is Loken?” Her mouth dropped open. She dragged her attention away from the mystery of Rapp and took measure of her other four guests. Sonnet’s cousins, the long-haired, dark-skinned Macadangdang sisters, stared back, Niki in brashness and Lia in anguish. They were both as exotic as gardenia blossoms, odd in this cold light, more belonging in the environment of a hothouse. Tahiti, Emma thought. Maybe Tahitians had come to Monte Cristo.
Sonnet’s older sister, Jules McKay, was lovely . . . a magnificent, golden orb attached to Niki’s side as a barnacle would be to its ship. She had made the greatest attempt at some semblance of flair. At least her clothing matched in color. And their leader, Evan McKay, twin of Sonnet, was muscular under his tight, white shirt. Where Rapp’s dark hair hung too long, Evan’s red hair bristled too short.
“It is a difficulty to understand you, Lia. I don’t know what a ‘best bud’ is. And even your names are uncommon. Whatever is a Macadangdang?”
Lia nodded. She spoke slowly, enunciating her words as if she were speaking to a child. “Emma, I know you don’t understand much of this, so I’ll just say it. We think what’s happened is that you are from our past. And we, for you, are from the future. It’s not 1895 here. The year is 2015. One hundred and twenty years in the future. And somehow you’ve switched places with my cousin who looks just like you.”
“That’s why the house is a wreck,” said Jules. “It’s been abandoned for probably a hundred years. Monte Cristo is a ghost town. No one lives here anymore.”
“Ghost town . . .” Emma shivered.
Lia clasped her hand in hers. “We want Sonnet back here with us as much as you want to go back to 1895 and your family. You have to trust us to come up with a plan. We’ll take care of you in the meantime . . .”
“Okay, Emma,” interrupted Niki. “Chop, chop. If you’re coming, we gotta get back to the river now. We all brought extra stuff, so we can swing by the cars and fix you up before you’re around the adults. We’ll stick your hair into a baseball cap until we get home and can cut it. Mom has eagle eyes. And then you just need to keep your mouth shut.”
“Cars?” Emma frowned. She turned her battered shoulders to the empty space that had once been a stunning room with all the latest amenities. Furniture, carpets, and knickknacks had all disappeared. Her family and the hired help had vanished, leaving her alone with strangers. She wiped dirt from her face with the long sleeves that hung down past her hands, her awful fate sinking in. “I’m not dreaming this, Rapp Loken? The future is here?”
He smiled. “The future is here.”
“And someone named Sonnet, someone just like me, has gone away, and I have replaced her. And you will help me. You will all be my friends.” Emma gripped Lia’s hand, exhausted and ready to buckle. She was numb to it. Too tired to fight. She would have to accept their offer, even with the possibility of losing her life on account of tardiness. She had no other choice. She rolled her eyes down the fuzzy garment to where her knickers gathered with a pink ribbon around her knees. Her dirty legs and feet were bare beyond the cotton material.
Rapp handed Jules his bag. “You can climb on my back, and I’ll carry you down the hill, Emma.” He tossed his dark hair and sent her a reassuring grin. “I’ll be your packhorse.”
All Emma had was faith. She ignored the violent thumping of her heart and the tears threatening to fall from her eyes again, and wished her visitors to see her as brave. She dropped Lia’s hand and took hold of Rapp’s as they made their way down the staircase and out the doorway to the porch. They jumped over a splintered hole. Rapp kicked away blackberry vines and stood two steps below her. Emma said a quick prayer, not much more than a keep me safe, and leapt up on his back for the trek through the forest to the river.
In the lead, Niki and Evan were already forging through the dense stand of trees that stood where once grew a manicured lawn. Rapp followed Jules, her smaller but identical sweatshirt blazing AMERICAN
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF CAPE TOWN across the back. Emma twisted around one last time and watched as Lia banged the front door shut, closing her home off from this astonishing new world.
But Not Forever
By: Jan Von Schleh
Release Date: June 12, 2018
One winner will receive a copy of But Not Forever (US only).